Self plagiarism: an unsustainable and ridiculous legal concept

If I write a beautiful sentence in a poem and then use it in a novel, or if I publish an article on my blog and re-publish it on social media, it is a ridiculous idea that I could be committing the crime of “self plagiarism.”

“Self-plagiarism,” explained Robert Cruetz, “is also known as ‘reuse,’ ‘recycling fraud,’ or ‘duplicate publication,’ and consists of a person re-purposing their own written material without providing proper attribution by citing the original content.”

The legal concept of “self-plagiarism” is contrary to the order of the universe, unnatural, and therefore inherently flawed. Think of genetic code as a type of writing. A rule prohibiting “self plagiarism”” would have derailed evolution from its earliest beginnings and planet Earth would still be a hot dead rock without an atmosphere or arable soil.

All life has borrowed “writing” from the prior generation in order to both survive and to thrive in the process of adding to it, improving upon it.

Here it seems to me that the spirit of the law against plagiarism has been lost. The spirit of plagiarism laws was to protect the livelihood of the original author. The ability of the author to support their life their family. Think about that.

Self-plagiarism is ridiculous and foolish legalistic concept.

I hereby confess this is a repost, self-plagiarism, from my original writing on LinkedIn.

10 ways the government works for us

Today on Facebook someone commented that “most people cannot remember a time when the government worked for us instead of against us.”

I was moved by this idea to write about the concepts of government, perception, optimism, and consciousness. Mostly I wondered, don’t people remember and keep the words of Abraham Lincoln, and the founding fathers? That ours is a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people?” And how can people not see all the good things the government does for us?

To me, seeing the good things our government does is a lot like the ability to perceive God. How could someone not see evidence of God everywhere? I see evidence of both a good God and a good government everywhere.

To me, seeing good is like seeing a lot of things that are there, but we’re not aware of. It is a matter of wanting to see something, putting yourself in the right place, at the right time, and tuning your attention appropriately.

For example, we don’t often see bats in the summer, at least in Wisconsin. But there are quite a few around. If I want to really see them, I discovered there’s a roost in an old building next to the Grafton Public library where I used to work. Go to the parking lot at dusk any night all summer long, and see hundreds of bats coming out of their roost at night. It’s quite spectacular. Another example is looking through a microscope to see tiny lifeforms, invisible to the naked eye. Or using a telescope at night to see details on the surface of the moon we just can’t perceive without help.

Or even just becoming aware or conscious of something you never noticed before, can help you see it. For example, before I test drove and then bought a Honda CRV, I had never seen one before. But after I became aware of them—amazingly—I saw them everywhere!

We also have to engage our will to see things, too. We have to want to see things. One can look at a partially-filled glass and call it half empty, or half full. We make such choices. And it is purely a matter of choice.

So for those who say the government does nothing for us, really? Is that true? Or is it that you’re just not perceiving things correctly?

I decided to started a list of things I can see that government does for me. Below are just 10 things I can think of off the top of my head.

  1. My ability to read, do math, have understanding of lots of subjects—all courtesy of the fine education I received at Wauwatosa Public Schools and the University of Wisconsin system. I had an excellent education in public schools: primary, secondary, and college
  2. The Internet. Public academic institutions attempting to share information developed the first internet.
  3. My favorite radio station I listen to daily, which is WUWM-FM. If not for FCC regulations, turning on a radio station would be a mass of noise.
  4. Traveling safely on the roads. From speed limits to stop signs, rules of the road and police officers, I might have crashed and died long ago
  5. My ability to worship freely—and in a building exempt from taxes. Our government guarantees my freedom to worship — something we take for granted in this country.
  6. A clean healthy home and yard thanks to garbage pickup. Imagine if there were no garbage trucks to pick up our waste. It would get pretty smelly and we’d get pretty sick.
  7. A safe house that doesn’t fall apart on me. Thanks to building codes, permits, licenses, and inspectors—and people cooperating with them all—our homes don’t fall apart in the wind and keep us dry in the rain.
  8. Mail delivery. Wish it was still the Pony Express sometimes (I just love horses) but I’m very grateful for the ability to send and receive mail.
  9. Roads kept paved and clean of snow, ice, leaves, trash, and dead animals (imagine the graveyard our highways would be if no one ever picked up roadkill!)
  10. Laws that make it very easy to start a small business and that reduce my tax overhead. Think we’ve got red tape? You should hear how much harder it is in other countries. A friend from Germany heightened my consciousness to how easy we have it here. Again, half full, or half empty?

Anything you can add to this list, of things government does for us?believed-by-the-masses-plato-daily-quotes-sayings-pictures

A Human Need: The Purpose, Benefit and Value of Worship

Of all the differences between people, belief in God is one area in which we are almost all in accord. Contrary to widespread perception, only 1.6% of Americans self-identify as atheists, and only 2.4% as agnostics. The remainder, 96%, believe in the existence of a higher power in some fashion or another. A full 78% self-identify as Christian. Belief in God is “absolutely certain” for 71%, religion is “very important” for 56%, and frequent participation in religious services–weekly worship–happens for 39%. (This all according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.)

Could it be that human beings have an intrinsic and enduring need for God, much like they need companionship, food, clothing, and meaningful work? For a field that has not been studied or promoted in public schools for over 50 years, clearly the subject matter of divinity remains important and relevant for the vast majority of Americans.

Yet in the diverse marketplace of religions available to Americans today, many remain dissatisfied: 28% of adults report having made a major change of religious affiliation since childhood, such as moving from atheism to Christianity or vice versa. Within the ranks of Christianity itself, a full 44% have jumped ship from the faith in which they were raised. What is triggering all this movement? Clearly some needs are unfulfilled. Is there an inherently correct way to worship that best fills the need, and incorrect ways that do not?

At Death to the World is an excellent piece entitled In Spirit and Truth which answers these vexing existential questions succinctly, by going back all the way to the common beginning shared by Christians, Jews, and Muslims. In today’s fast-moving society where the cycle of human technological obsolescence grows increasingly shorter, seeking guidance from old ways seems oddly counter-intuitive.  Particularly to those whose religious focus has been on more modern religious practices, checking in with ancient history seems foolish, awkward, and irrelevant, the author writes.

“This seems like death to those who love toe-tapping worship, but in fact the Life of God is hidden in these ancient forms and they very much need to be brought back in our day.”

Cain-and-Abel
Ancient hagiography depicting one of the earliest recorded accounts of human worship behavior, that of Cain and Abel.

Speaking from personal experience, having been one of those dissatisfied seekers who searched far and wide over several decades for spiritual truth, embracing ancient ways has lead to fulfillment far exceeding anything I thought possible.

In exploring the story of Cain and Abel, as recorded by Moses in the book of Genesis, we see that the earliest humans understood that to worship is to give away something of value to God. Similarly, Indigenous Native Americans practice the Giveaway Ceremony, and the Potlatch Ceremony (from which our tradition of potluck dinners hails.) Giving things away brings us closer to a fulfilling our need for relationship with God.

But in the story of these two brothers, the first generation after entering the world to begin the long lesson of learning from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, one brother’s worship practice of giving away is done correctly, and other’s is not.

“If we understand that true worship is as much a correction of the worshipper as anything else, then what we see in this story is that Cain was not willing to be corrected. He stubbornly wanted God to accept what he thought was good enough, rather than to learn from God what would constitute true worship. Cain was therefore a false worshipper.

“Throughout the history of Israel, we see God being very specific about true worship, not only in terms of what makes a true offering, the construction of the altar it should be offered upon, the Temple in which it should be offered, but even right down to the details of which incense to burn before Him. Once again, these instructions are given for man’s benefit, not for God’s. He who owns the cattle on a thousand hills does not need the blood of bulls and calves to be offered to Him. But man needed to offer them in order to humble himself before God, recognize his own sinfulness, and to glorify God as the Maker of all things and man’s only Redeemer.”

Many thanks to Archpriest Micheal Reagan for this excellent homily exploring these questions, as well as to the monks who have recently given one of my favorite sites a new makeover. Death to the World began as an extraordinary print publication in the early 1990s.  A  lifesaving vehicle produced with great loving care using traditional paste-up, then photocopied and hand-distributed person-to-person throughout the Christian punk rock underground, its circulation amazingly reached a pinnacle of tens of thousands. It is truly a blessing to find Death to the World given new life today, online. I encourage all Truthseekers to explore it in depth.

In reading and study, may the Holy Spirit of Truth touch your heart. And may Death to the World continue helping bring about the precise type of death that is necessary in order to find true spiritual life and fulfillment.

http://deathtotheworld.com/articles/zine-articles/in-spirit-and-truth-issue-13/