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To what extent can an idea be unique?

Are all ideas just the combination of known principles or trial and error? Examples and peronal experiences are good as well as just opinions. This question could be expanded to any thought at all, not just ideas. If there is a thought that is almost entirely unique, there can't be any previous oppposite idea. What I mean is if an idea is the exact opposite of another it isn't really original. It just stated the opposite. If an entirely original idea can be made, how will it be formed?

I have some opinions currently, but I'm sure they'll change after your comments. Please ask me to expand or clarify if needed.

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    Jul 28 2013: I just had an idea that was unique to the fullest extent. However, in order to keep it perfectly preserved that way, I'm not going to tell any of you or any one else, what that unique idea was. I'm taking this unique idea with me to my grave. You'll just have to take my word for it. It was totally, completely, utterly unique.
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        Jul 28 2013: ...awwww... Dude.... Not cool..... I totally thought I had it.
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        Jul 29 2013: That's the scary thing about some ideas, though, too.
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        Jul 29 2013: "If you aspire to be a great thinker in your own right, you have to keep thinking until you get ahead of all the rest."

        ...or until you expire and your great thoughts disappear together with you. Sad but true.
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        Jul 30 2013: That is positive indeed. Ideas with value and potential should not deserve to die.

        Unfortunately, original ideas, although there, often do not see the light of day, for a variety of reasons.

        Which university is it you represent? Just asking out of sheer curiosity.

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