Jim Jarmush: Nothing is original

Before I share my thoughts on RIP: A Remix Manifesto, I want to pass on this quote that some lovely person posted on the Boing Boing post discussing it. It’s Jim Jarmusch‘s fifth rule of film-making:

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery — celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from — it’s where you take them to.

I’ve never focused on originality. I can appreciate it, but don’t aspire to it. Innovation maybe, as in finding a better way. In the forefront of my mind? Healing, integrity, justice, peace, empathy. That’s what gets me going. To love. To repair the world. Better to focus on understanding and sharing. Better to focus on being authentic. That is hard enough and good enough for me.

3 thoughts on “Jim Jarmush: Nothing is original

  1. Pingback: I never knew » Blog Archive » Nothing is Original

  2. Christine

    And related to this listen to this podcast: Ars memorativa — the medieval craft of memory. From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s The Book Show. Seems like nothing’s been original for a long long time.

    “In contemporary culture we tend to think of the imagination as the highest creative impulse. The imagination is seen as the ultimate source of originality and original thinking is what marks a true artist. But from the antiquities to medieval times memory was highly valued. Both Aristotle and Chaucer thought memory the most important tool a writer or a reader could have. Renowned medieval scholar Mary Carruthers talks about the lost art of memory.”


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