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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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  • Aug 10 2013: Original ideas are possible. Communicating these ideas via language may distort this fact because communication is achieved primarily by associating various bits of information to an existing database. The new idea thus appears as a collage of bits of existing ideas.
    Harry Potter might be portrayed to be a potpourri of ideas about witches, boarding school, orphans, maltreated wards etc. But to deny its originality and uniqueness would be akin to denying the uniqueness of any individual; after all there are billions of people in the world.

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