The Unbroken Web, revisited

Last winter, I gave you a weekend gift — an explanation of Richard Adams’ “The Unbroken Web.” If you missed it back then, I hope you’ll follow the link, for Adams offers a compelling perspective on the source of creative inspiration.

This post came to mind as I read two instances of it this morning. In the first, Seth Godin tells of a friend who wrote a science fiction manuscript 25 years ago for a novel about a virus from outer space. Just as he was finishing it, Michael Crichton published The Andromeda Strain, which, well, you know what happened with that. Godin’s friend, Harry Harrison, threw his manuscript in the trash and half-jokingly noted that Crichton had “pre-stolen” his story.

The second is an article from The Inquisitr about rock guitarist Joe Satriani’s copyright suit against hot British rock band Coldplay and their “Song of the Year” Grammy-nominated “Viva La Vida.” The suit claims the Coldplay song incorporates “substantial original portions” of his 2004 song “If I Could Fly.” This YouTube mash-up of the two songs makes a pretty convincing argument for Satriani.

Now, I’m not saying that Coldplay didn’t “copy” Satriani’s song, nor am I saying Michael Crichton didn’t “pre-steal” Harrison’s book. I’m merely suggesting that creative concepts are often more than simply something that “pops” into somebody’s head, whereby that person then claims ownership and rights. I’m aware this is controversial stuff, but if you believe that Life is bigger than you are, you become witness to things mysterious and awesome. To me, Life is the source of creativity, whether that’s a reflection of everybody else, as Adams believes, or some external — yet internal — source doesn’t matter.

I just know it’s bigger than me.


  1. I listened when I saw this posted elsewhere, and having never heard Coldplay before, recognized Satriani … whether it’s in there or not, I heard it.

    And promptly went to Amazon an bought “Super Colossal” … a different Satriani album I didn’t have yet.



  1. […] but only some are artists, or Allen’s “dreamers.” These are people who touch Richard Adams’ Unbroken Web of creativity that is available — for free — to anyone and everyone. Consequently, creativity […]

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