A friend of mine uses the the following tagline on his forum posts:
"Everyone is unique, except for me."When I was growing up, I was told, "You are special... there's no one else like you." That was a nice sentiment. Unfortunately, it's not quite so true. With a world population of nearly 6.7 Billion people, the chances are pretty good that there is someone who's just like me out there, probably even in my own country. (Given cultural influences, it's probably even more likely.) They might even look like me! (Scary thought, and my sincerest apologies.)
Being ensconced firmly in the information society, it's easier more than ever to find people who are like you. You come up with a great idea, google it, and find people who have already done it. Most of the good web site URLs are taken. There's probably someone, somewhere with your name, married to someone with your spouse's name, with the same set of kids. Statistics dictate that's its more than likely.
It's sad really. Growing up as an "individual", thinking your ideas are unique when they most likely aren't. Is this cynicism or just the acceptance of reality? Instead of thinking that my ideas are "special" and "one-of-a-kind", I now take them to the internet and see who else has them to learn more. I get disappointed when I can't find anything, thinking to myself "I must not be looking hard enough, someone must have thought of this already." Or I think that if I can't find anyone else who's thought of this and publicized it, it mustn't be that good of an idea. It is provoking to think about how information availability can provide and discourage.
We may look, act and behave differently, but like the Earth, we are all made up mostly of water and ultimately are just 1 single drop in the very large ocean of the human race.