Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Zen of Plagiarism

I was sharing my indignation about someone plagiarizing my website content, and my friend's somewhat surprising response — about it all being "owned by God, anyway," and her lighthearted pointing out a magazine cover of someone dancing underwater, saying, "He's plagiarizing me, because I dance underwater!" caused me to begin questioning my reaction.

Why DO we get so upset when another copies "our" words or images? A respected speakers' newsletter just posed this precise question: would you use a colleague's idea (shared in casual conversation) in your own presentation without permission? How about without attribution?

I wrote:

"I've had my ideas appropriated without attribution many times, and had my content plagiarized. However, that said, I quote other people's words and ideas frequently, always with attribution, usually including a link to their website, blog, video, etc. I often email the individual to alert them to the reference so they can promote it to their own audience. Those featured appreciate both the promotion and the acknowledgment.

"In a world where six degrees of separation is now barely two, and we're Occupying Everything, sharing has become more of a gray area than ever. But as we all still take pride in our intellectual property — even if it's something uttered spontaneously in conversation with a colleague — it seems the least we can do is to honor one another by recognizing an original contribution, and passing it along with credit where it's due."

But now the trick cube is shifting. It's akin to a time I was in a brief relationship with someone who was also loving another. One morning, in the watery world between sleep and wakefulness, I sensed the entire situation and felt no pain. I understood in a flash that this was my true state, my high Self, observing, where emotional entanglement — or not — was a conscious decision.

And as I consider (literally, "with the stars") the concept that the ideas I bring forth are not my own, that I am but the vehicle to allow them manifestation, needing or wanting "credit" begins to seem humorous. I've written about how we carve up the planet, thinking we own it: "There are no actual map lines on Earth, delineating this country, this language, this religion, this culture from the next. We've created it all. It's our collective game. As we become technologically proficient, the playing field shrinks to a more agreeable size, and the game starts to seem superfluous."

From this perspective, "intellectual property" appears even more amusing. Do we own our thoughts? Especially now, when we're becoming more transparent and interconnected than ever before?

So … this feels good, right and true. And yet, if you were to paste this post onto your blog as your own, it might irk me. We're in process, opening from ownership and a sense of separation to unity consciousness. I'm aligned with the vision and values; my 3D self is shifting as rapidly as Love replaces fear.

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