Melancholy Elephants by Spider Robinson

posted Sep 08, 2003

"Artists have been deluding themselves for centuries with the notion that they create. In fact they do nothing of the sort. They discover. Inherent in the nature of reality are a number of combinations of musical tones that will be perceived as pleasing by a human central nervous system. For millennia we have been discovering them, implicit in the universe—and telling ourselves that we `created' them. To create implies infinite possibility, to discover implies finite possibility....

" `Ars longa, vita brevis est,' " she said at last. "There's been comfort of a kind in that for thousands of years. But art is long, not infinite. `The Magic goes away.' One day we will use it up—unless we can learn to recycle it like any other finite resource."

An argument against copyright extension in the form of short sci-fi story.


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