December 12, 2005

there's a first time for each one of me.

I’ve been casually perusing Claude Levi-Strauss’ Look, Listen, Read lately. He makes a comment about Diderot which struck me as both amusing and irritating, depending on the context you imagined to go with it. Strauss says:

Diderot was so receptive to other people’s ideas that he often thought that he had had them first. He would then, in all good faith, reproach them for not having thought in his terms and credit them with notions that he himself had professed before having read them. Such intellectual sleights are not unknown today (78-79).

There’s a whole gumball of ownership ideas wrapped up in that. We live in such a, what do they call it, “knowledge economy,? or some such term. We are a culture that vehemently declares, “ I thought of it first? or “don’t copy me? or “give credit where credit is due? and etc. I’m not saying that this is bad or good, but interesting. That’s where the whole race part of the rat race comes in. Who did it first. And, whatever it is that you get credit for doing first, that is your identity, that is your trademark, brand name.

Posted by wood0072 at December 12, 2005 9:03 PM