Thought can be plainly interpreted as something which keeps the mind busy. The mystery of how the thought originates and how it branches out is next to impossible. I was always perplexed when someone appealed me to think originally. I kept thinking what this original thinking meant. I felt nothing was original because all that we think is the result of what is possible to think, which implies somebody else has already thought it. So what does it mean? Does it mean, to purposefully think about something, which we presume, no one else in the history of mankind has ever thought? If that is the case, I’m not happy even if I do it; because, in such a case, we concentrate more on being the first rather than actually thinking!
One thing is quite straightforward: Every logical thought process is based on the knowledge base we have accumulated over years; either in conformation to it or as a result of our imagination, which is in contradiction to it, or somewhere in the gray area between the two. By imagination, what I mean is the conscious effort NOT to be unimaginative. Another interesting observation i found was: Every thought has an object associated with an emotion. Even the mere imagination of any abstract emotion, brings a picture of an object or an incident which gives a ‘definition’ to that emotion. Thus every emotion, intelligence, creativity etc. is a product of a purposeful variation or tampering of our experiences or our inferences out of them. So, the whole lot of so-called being original is nothing but a limited aberration of our logical sense. In my opinion, it is wrong to call this slight deviation from logic as originality. It is just application of our prior experience of comparing the present results with previous facts and modifying them to suit our needs, as we’ve always been doing.
Originality is something which is beyond thought, because thought is limited by our prior knowledge. Hence, even imagination is limited, since it is a product of thought. So, originality must be something beyond our will and perseverance. It is like a flash of lightning that suddenly appears. We reason it out later to fit our rules. Consider a scientist who has done years of research and produced some original work. Such a work essentially revolves around a new idea or solution. If we ask him, if he already knew the time at which this new idea would occur to him, he would say no. At some exact moment a thought strikes his mind and it becomes original. I think that is the reason that, in ancient times, people would attribute something incomprehensible such as a miracle to be the reason behind it.