Origin of Ideas
Today, I came to a conclusion that I liked and then realized that it only clicked so suddenly because Tucker had been explaining it to me for months. Occasionally, I’ll see an email from one person to another where all the words are mine. It used to drive me insane. Now I realize that it means I’m doing something right. I’m starting to think that a belief in the clear delineation between where one idea ends and where another begins is bullshit.
When you accept that very rarely will any idea be original and forgo rights to ownership, you free yourself up to do the important part – complete understanding. I think that means a huge thank you to the people who allow me to get close enough to hear theirs. As we try to absorb, make sense, compile, discard, destruct and create, confuse, iron and simplify, we’re left with one big mess where authorship is a little murky. And that’s how it should be. Hopefully, I’ll be able to return the favor.
If I could end with stealing someone else’s – and they probably know who they are – it’d be that the more you care about credit, the less you’ll actually be able to accomplish.
Well said. I immediately thought of this quote, and thought you might find it relevant:
“References to the OODA Loop were popping up everywhere from newspaper stories to the advice of business consultants. As had been the case with E-M, many of the references did not mention Boyd. His work had become generic. And as had been the case with E-M, he laughed and said he did not mind. The most important thing was that the ideas became known.” – Robert Coram, Boyd, Page 384
That’s what has always irked me about how incredibly anal teachers and professors are about citations and plagiarism. I mean yes, it is extremely important to give credit where credit is due, especially in a field where ideas are currency and reputation, but for academic professionals to be so insecure about their work that you can potentially fail a class with an XF (failure due to cheating) because you failed to correctly cite or, god forbid, “stole” someone else’s take on a situation is ludicrous.
Shouldn’t academics be flattered someone trusted their work enough to use it instead of immediately going on the defensive? Maybe I’m overgeneralizing a bit but it still seems insane.