Monday, August 23, 2010

Discovering Yourself Elsewhere

Oh dear blog, how I've missed thee.  But without apology or explanation, I dive right back in:

I've noticed a lot going around recently on Twitter and various blogs about individuals taking/setaling ideas, pictures, words, and so on from other online sites.  

To be honest, I just wrote a very a long blog post about this topic.  I spent a good deal of the morning on it.  Towards the end, I typed, “Keep all of this in your awareness when discovering yourself elsewhere”.

That phrase, “discovering yourself elsewhere” both negated and underlined everything I had typed.  I have not been able to let go of my fascination with this.  Instead, I will just let go of the muck that I'd written and instead, write this post.

Discovering yourself elsewhere can take many forms.  Here’s one way of looking at those.

*Stealing: You find that someone has, without permission, taken your idea, your art, your outpouring to the world and in some form or fashion expressed it as their own.

*Borrowing: You find that someone has, with or without permission, taken your idea, your art, your outpouring to the world and in some form or fashion expressed it while still giving you credit.

*Impression: You find that someone has, with or without permission, taken your idea, your art, your outpouring to the world and in some form or fashion incorporated it into their own work.  Your color of playdough has been smooshed in with theirs – still clearly visible but fully incorporated into their color and the form they created.

*Reflection: You find that someone has already expressed an idea or feeling that you had/felt but that you have not expressed in a public manner.  (e.g. reading a book or blog in which you feel that the person “took the words right out of your mouth”)  In this sense, you are discovering yourself through the other person.

Each of these situations can be unsettling.  They remind our ego that there are other egos out there clamoring for attention and acceptance.

I challenge others to do no more than I ask of myself.  

Can we act in each of these situations?  Can we act without judgment and with respect?  

Can we assertively address those who intentionally act without regard for consequence?  Can we gently address those who unintentionally act without regard for consequence?  Can we realize that both forms of action are done from a place of Not Knowing and choose our own actions out of kindness?

Can we act without jealousy when discovering ourselves reflected?

I am human.  I can be (and have been) a real bitch...angry, logical at the expense of kindness, jealous, judgmental.  I know that while reactions taken while in this mood feel awesome and powerful in the moment, they always leave a residue of ickiness that does not wash away.

I leave you with a few other perspectives on this:

Bindu Wiles: The Pain and Annoyance of the Rip-Off
Kelly Rae Roberts: What Is Ok and What Is Not Ok

Obviously there is more to say on all of this, but I find the more I type - the more the words just get in the way.

And lunch calls.

Perhaps you will share your thoughts as well?


  1. This is such a wonderful post! I haven't brought together my thoughts for you yet, but I am certainly pondering what you have said here. Perhaps that is the only response...thought, not speech. I think that may be exactly the case.

  2. wow. it's amazing how things are all connected. people, ideas, feelings.

    i have been attempting to do a photo job for a company in my small town. it is not going well and i am left feeling taken advantage of and very very unhappy. today i am taking my power back and am going to walk down there and offer them their money back, in exchange for my beautiful photographs.

    my photographs do not need to be where they are not appreciated...

    thanks for this wonderful post! you put into words, what my heart has been saying...

  3. A really interesting post, asking some very tough questions. We have to be pretty brave to stand up for ourselves in these situations, and we have to be gentle with ourselves and others in understanding that we all steal stuff. Nothing we say hasn't been said before. Plagiarism is clearly not okay, and that's not what I'm talking about here. I think what you call Reflection is actually pretty awesome. It lets us grow together and recognise our connection to each other. I guess it's all about intention.

  4. great reflections and way of discerning the issue.

  5. I have fortunately not found that any of my words or images or creations have been stolen or directly copied by others. I think that if I discovered that this happened, I would NOT be happy. When I post photographs taken by others on my blog, I always give credit.
    They always say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I've discovered that some other bloggers or artisans have adopted some of the little things that I've been doing, and I'm fine with that. As long as there is nothing overtly being copied, then I say live and let live. If I did discover an idea that I admired, I'd personally write the person to ask if they'd mind if I did something similar - but with my own personal stamp on it.
    Theresa :)

  6. This fits quite well with a blog post I recently wrote - the realisation that there are other egos out there clamouring for attention as well as our own! First reaction: jealousy, disappointment, fear. Second reaction: how wonderful that this idea is considered an important one in this world at this time, how can I add to the conversation?
    Thanks. Great Post. Meg