Oscar Wilde said “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
Is imitation really so bad?
Can imitation be good or is it outrageous?
For argument’s sake, let us consider all the positives,
kids learn mimicking their parents.
Good manners, politeness and good habits,
Sharing, caring and all things of essence.
Animals, everywhere the world over,
the ones that have been tamed and trained.
Learn to jump through hoops, sing and whistle,
walruses, seals, macaws, dolphins – just a few are named.
How do they learn their tricks actually?
It is a two step process, you know.
The first is just pure imitation,
which gives them a reward or treat, though.
An apprentice, a trainee, a person just starting on his craft.
Looks at the master, and copies his teacher’s art.
Once he has mastered the technique and learned the basics well,
That is when he, on a new journey, embarks.
A doctor, a lawyer, a professional in any field,
Learns what he needs to know by studying his seniors.
Adapting what they do initially, quite blindly,
Until he creates his own way and becomes an achiever.
However, yes, there are cases of people,
who don’t always aim to be winners.
Mimicry artists earn their salaries,
by imitating stars, politicians and public figures.
Some writers and poets and painters,
imitating the style, the signature and the tone.
Who want to bask in reflected glory,
Don’t want to develop anything of their own.
However, I think this group or section of people,
is actually a small minority.
Most normal people just abhor,
any form of piracy.
So, to Oscar Wilde, I might say that imitation
is not always due to mediocrity alone.
It is because a person is new at it and learning,
Until they find a style and technique of their own.