I have been reading a book about 1491-the Americas before western intervention. It explores ideas about how technology comes into being-sometimes taken from what has been before, sometimes simultaneous invention without interaction between peoples.
This hit home because I had taken pictures of a fern head unfolding in my garden with the idea of using it on the top of a covered jar, or as a design element for carving images into clay. Then I opened up the latest edition of a ceramics trade magazine, and there was someone using the same idea! Makes me wonder about how inspiration comes to individuals at the same time, who don't even know one another. Guess we really are just recycling ideas that have been in the air for a really long time.