You are browsing the internet in order to test – by anecdotal evidence – if your original ideas are that original or your most creative writing that creative.
Within milliseconds you detect that everything has already been told, shared, pictured, thought, sketched.
For every clever business idea I had, I found zillions of companies that already had implemented version 3.0 of this idea. Every super fancy domain I ever wanted to register was taken. Every utmost obscure and bizarre topic I wanted to write about was covered in 1000s posts, tweets, and doctoral theses. I believe that right now millions of people write about the true phenomenon or the illusion of (there is for sure a scientific term for it) all their ideas being published already by somebody else.
I once thought it singular to be
a physicist working in IT security
Then I discovered, in passing, not even searching for it, that there are discussion groups called physicists in IT security.
Then I thought it would be worth mentioning to be
a physicist working in IT security interested in the history of science.
a physicist working in IT security interested in the history of science and being a fan of Star Trek.
a physicist working in IT security interested in the history of science and being a fan of Star Trek, Douglas Adams.
a physicist working in IT security interested in the history of science and being a fan of Star Trek, Douglas Adams and Douglas Coupland.
You might discover that there are other intelligent lifeforms on this planet who indulge in enigmatic messages teleported via the search strings that make users hit their website just like you.
Probably it is worse than that. Maybe we are determined by clichés before we know it (sort of Minority Report style). I watched The Net with Sandra Bullock many years ago and this scene was the essential part of the movie!
I was not yet the only woman who calls herself a nerd (reference: a colleague) and I was not yet tracking down security issues in my hacker’s cave, fuelled by pizza and caffeine (source: self-assessment).
But I morphed into my favorite cliché wholeheartedly. I delved into it, and I accepted my destiny. I adore writers who make cliché the hidden recurring topic of their work; who are able to explain the zeitgeist of an era by describing trashy everyday stuff meticulously. As Douglas Coupland.
I have another theory that says this only works with clichés that have emerged after the ~ 1960s, because then it was possible to beam those most trivial everyday clichés down to people’s hearts and brains via TV.
Do I have to offer a solution apart from pseudo-postmodern analysis? Yes, but I will not tell you. Otherwise somebody who has come up with the same solution will google it and end up disappointed.