I have two concerns/thoughts/ideas about this piece by Eliot.
1) The idea of nothing is original. Part of me accepts this as it is. However, the poet in me says that the genesis of my thoughts, my words, it is original. I'm the first to groan at a Nicholas Sparks movie/novel and remind the first person around that, hey that's the same story he's been writing for years.
I have to wonder if by saying nothing is new, then how do we classify what came before? Everything hasn't always existed. So when did things stop being new? These questions are worthy of turning brains into pudding.
2) The tradition. I've seen firsthand how writers influence other writers. You read something and it makes the sparks fly and roots grow in your brain. Once a student of writing starts delving into reading great works, they realize that these things are connected. It blows my mind to see a work and realize how another author inspired this. I've had several classes in poetry where we're encouraged to borrow lines from other poets and I think that this acknowledged theft of ideas in order to reach something new in one's own writing is a bit necessary. We need things to inspire us. These things reach out to us and poke us in the face saying, "HEY. YOU SHOULD WRITE AND STUFF."
It's important to let other writers give back to us again.