Why are there no new clichés? For some reason it seems that clichés haven’t caught up with the vernacular of modern-day. We’re still “putting carts before horses,” and “putting our ducks in a row.” However, when it comes to inspiration, we’re continually finding new ways to express ideas initially expressed 2,000 or more years ago. Thus, the progress of wisdom is horizontal. The progress of science, on the other hand, is linear. Scientific progress shapes and pivots via proving and disproving, and the evolution of that has been remarkable to watch from the periphery whilst enjoying its byproducts on a daily basis. It’s an ever-evolving, forward-moving timeline. To draw an analogy, some bands have linear discographies while others have horizontal discographies. The Beatles, for example, were linear. Their timeline began on one end as bubble gum pop and continually evolved as they explored new sonic territory that echoed their lives at a given moment in time. Other bands are horizontal. They create a sound on their first record or first few records that connects with an audience, and then spend the rest of their careers trying to either perfect that sound or recapture its magic on subsequent albums. Every effort is stacked upon the prior; regardless of whether it’s better or worse (that’s subjective after all), it never branches out. Neither approach alone is correct nor does it a good band make. It’s all about how it resonates over time. If you’re lucky, the appreciation of your craft and creative contributions occurs while you’re in that flow. The point is that anything can only be original once. After that, it’s some form of reinterpretation. In the world of music, that reinterpretation is called influence on one end of the spectrum and sampling on the other. Plagiarism lives here too! When it comes to inspiration, the reality is that humans understood human nature from the beginning. There’s nothing new to report. We can shapeshift words to our heart’s content and package it as something new, but the meaning has already been expressed elsewhere. We’re horizontal, stacking onto a pile of wisdom. If we’re lucky, we may sometimes stumble upon a combination of words that creates a “new” phrase that resonates. Maybe this makes us suddenly important. Maybe we can make a new career simply from expressing how we see the world. But, that’s only a perhaps. What’s more true is that wisdom is the most plagiarized commodity, and ultimately, it’s only words. Any positive result of wisdom has been through the actions of the person that took the words to heart and decided to live – to act – differently as a result.