Hip-hop popularized sampling old songs to produce something new. While criticized by “real” musicians, I think it is a fantastic way of building novel concepts. You take samples from one song, maybe borrow more from another, you put them together, connect them and now you have a new concept which is the new song born out of these recycled components. It has a new taste, a new flavor. The original song did not have the twist you gave to it. Your song is not ripped off, it has new characteristics!
In incremental reading, you have tons of articles in your learning queue, of which many typically are redundant. You have articles on some specific domain from author A, B and C. It would be foolish to listen to only one voice. Instead, you take the insights from different authors, evaluate the evidence and come to your own conclusion.
It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a telephone or any other important thing - and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite - that is all he did. These object lessons should teach us that ninety-nine parts of all things that proceed from the intellect are plagiarisms, pure and simple; and the lesson ought to make us modest. But nothing can do that. — Mark Twain (to Helen Keller)
In context of human relationships, they say that you are the sum of the 5 closest people to you. We unconsciously mimic behavior of our close friends. We take some traits they have and integrate it into our own character. The funny way you greet people, is now something I do to others. It is part of my character now. It has my twist.
See this scene of Anthony Bourdain explaining CDOs in the movie Big Short :
“It’s not old fish, it’s a whole new thing!”
Netflix is a platform that took existing things, put them together and now you have a new thing that is platform to stream movies and TV-shows. This might be more extreme example and extends to basically every platform there is, but it is true. They’re taking something old and giving it a new twist, even if that new is centralizing it.
Now even more extreme point is that there is no 100% original idea, everything is born out of some existing components. No matter how abstract and unprecedented your idea is, it is born out of something that already is. No matter whether that something is some really weird association in your head that you think doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. That association is born out of some memories that were born of something that already is.
Moral of the story: Being original is good, but literally everything follows from something and everybody gets influence from somewhere. Don’t be ashamed to follow up on existing idea, you give it new characteristics, it is new value. Without mp3 players there wouldn’t be iPod.