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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 15 2013: I think that most simple ideas have already been thought of. The more complicated and detailed an idea is, the more likely it is to be unique. For example, if you considered an entire 400 page book as one idea, that idea would very likely be unique. It all depends on how we define idea, but I think it is safe to say that simple original ideas are very rare. I suppose most new inventions could be considered original ideas.

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