What separates us from the animals? That we have a sense of "self", that we use tools, that we speak language -- all have fallen as researchers have demonstrated that some animals do recognize the concept of "self", that crows use cars & roads as tools to smash nuts, that chimpanzees fashion crude sticks to fish for ants, that some birds can use very small vocabularies to communicate their desires to their handlers, and that apes can learn and proficiently use sign-language vocabularies stretching towards a hundred or more words.
The one difference that remains is that we create. We create things that never before existed, and on a whim can produce descriptions of fantastical things never before imagined. We spend the majority of our lives surrounded by our creations: walls, roofs, carpets, desks, televisions, kitchens, stores, roads, cars, and most of us labor in the work of creation daily -- even a janitorial worker produces, through his labor, a creation: a clean environment, a repaired (or re-created) facility, etc. If it can be argued that animals are capable of creation, the argument would have to admit that they have such a small capacity in this regard as to barely merit mention. While the magnificence of a spider's web can be breathtaking, it is the same web that the spider spins, over and over and over again.
We stand alone among creatures as the prolific creators and inventors on this planet.
Those with religious sensibilities almost universally recognize this; that one of Divinity's most defining and lasting attributes is that it created this world, and that an echo of this divine capability is reflected in us, in our ability to create.
Those with more secular sensibilities almost universally recognize this also; that nature's first law is to create and to reproduce, that evolution spins ever upward towards new creation, and that our world favors creatures who can survive by adaptation (learning/technology) over those who survive by innate instinct. Adaptation through learning and technology is inseperable from the ability to create, and no species has this capacity so much as ours.
Why, then, do we grant monopolies on creation under our current system? Why do we allow one person to use an idea to create new inventions, and disallow all others? Are these restrictions really necessary to promote innovation, or do they stifle us more than we realize?
The act of creating is an essential human right. It is a universal human faculty. As Frederic Bastiat wrote, "to separate a man from his faculties is to cause him to die."
Is our current Intellectual Property Regime killing us? We think so. What do you think?