Thursday, February 28, 2008

Borrowing Ideas

A great deal has been made as of late of the phrasing of certain speeches by Barack Obama. HRC has gone on the record accusing Obama of plagiarism, most particularly with her infamous "xerox" analogy. A basic requirement for being the next President of these United States, it is intimated, must apparently be that only original thoughts and words are permitted. I beg to disagree. Inventors and writers aside, who in this universe does not routinely borrow thoughts and ideas from others? On second thought, it is wrong to separate out these classes of individuals. Last week I had an illuminating conversation with one of my (too bright) grandsons who claimed that all the good music has now been written and asked what people would do in the future when they get tired of listening to what passes now for the end point of music , i.e. rap music. I can understand where he is coming from, but as the Taco Bell advertisement suggests, we should all think outside the box on occasion. What this entreaty presupposes is the existence of the box itself. I heard a speaker claim once that 95% of what we do on a daily basis is done by habit and not by choice. It is submitted that this pattern is applicable to thinking as well as acts. In order that choices, good choices, can be made it is necessary to take what is in the "box" and expand on it (whatever the source). The borrowing of ideas from others (with proper attribution of course) is the stuff of advances. Who has not said "I wish that I had thought of that" when they hear about the creation of Google, a funny joke, the light bulb, etc., etc.? The list is as long as life itself.

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