The value of a Copy

March 26, 2018

What would you think, if I told you that I will destroy everything you own and replace it with an exact copy?
What about the fact that every cell in your body is completely renewed after some time?

Here is what I recently learned about the concept of "original vs. copy"


Image Credit: scholty1970


I love to challenge the way I think and the things that I believe in. The scientific method teaches us, that, if we wish to test a theory we do so by trying to disprove it, not the other way round. In my opinion this should also apply to our thinking and reasoning process.
It is fun to test your own reasoning skills when you try to defend your opinion to yourself. I had an insightful experience previously while reading an article titled "Why, in China and Japan, a copy is just as good as an original" published on
As the headline suggests the author wrote about a very cultural dependent topic that we easily take for granted and rarely think about:
The relationship between us and material things.

In western cultures we have a strong incentive to think of something as original and classify every attempt to reproduce it a copy. We also attribute less value to the copy.
The essay taught me that, in eastern countries, replacement/copying is regarded as means of restauration - a perspective I never had taken so far.

Is it really justifiable to think less about one instance of an object in relation to another? I started to assume that this notion came from anthropomorphising instances of objects. (Assigning them a "personality" that cannot be copied; This is how humans generally regard complex lifeforms.)
Having evolved in a world where it was imperative to know and detect differences in the personalities of our fellow beings, we are now transferring this to objects.
Is this a healthy relationship?

Interestingly the movie "Matrix" teaches us something about this "problem":
When Morpheus and Neo are inside the "Construct" for the first time, Neo can't believe that it is "real". Morpheus then asks the rhetorical question "What is reality?" and answers it by himself in a very pragmatic way:
"If you are talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain".

[Transcript from]

Which leads us to an interesting discussion:

Assuming we wouldn't place more value on an "original" then how would we classify an immersive VirtualReality experience in terms of "original/real"?
What is it, that makes an experience real for you?

Here is the article I was reading on Aeon:

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