I was reading the intro to Ender’s Game and Orson Scott Card talks about how influent authors’ impact materializes.
He says that, for example, Tolkien fans routinely veiledly rewrite their literary hero. That we all already knew. He also points out a more cunning observation: some authors mimic their idols’ ability to make stories that feel “fresh”.
I found this intriguingly remarkable. It had a very “meta-meme” ring to it. We’re not only making art eternal by copying it, we’re making the way we make art eternal. Every level of abstraction is evolvable, not just the end result.
Another not-so-tangible conclusion, is that genetics is just a way to encode admiration and imitation into ours species.