So, over the past year I have posted thousands of pictures, stated many observations, and even shared my most intimate philosophies during the whole process. As my wife likes to put it, I am giving away a part of my heart / inner soul. So, what have I learned from all this? A few things, but the most important lesson of them all is patience; in our online world, it is all too easy for callous comments to overrule kind ones, so making the effort to remember this is key. In my musings, I like to ponder our education system, as well as the future of society. Much of this revolves around subjects that a teacher cannot necessarily impact; life, however, has a way of doing so. The teacher can provide the environment in which to obtain these lessons, but it is up to the student to learn from them.
So, each institution or teacher has a set of guidelines: an honor system as one could say. Take away all the money involved, and the lessons to be learned are supposed to emphasize knowledge, respect, honor, and self-awareness. At least, this is the expectation…. Bringing our youth into adulthood is supposed to be a journey of creating investors in a better tomorrow; however, increasingly, this seems to be a broken system.
In my social media endeavors, I use my photographs and musings to convey my own journey in life. So, to consider the honor system…. I often (and increasingly so in the age of social media) read about photographers or writers whose work has been misappropriated by other artists or companies who label the work as their own. While this could be viewed as flattery, it raises the question of whether our work is truly our own in our increasingly online world. After all, how many times have you heard that there are no original thoughts – and that we “recycle” the ideas of our forebears when we put our own “spin” on them? While I do not completely disagree with this, and acknowledge that we each feed off of one another, it is truly frustrating when it happens to you. After all, Pablo Picasso once noted, “Art is the lie that enables us to realize the truth”. If that is the case, then there are a lot of fabrications out there….
I have found my work exploited by other individuals, and those photographs are now displayed at a various locations; in addition, I have found portions of my blog posts on the social media sites of a well-known company – without any credit as to the source. It is kind of difficult to deny as such when entire sentences matching my blog posts are incorporated into said company’s social media posts. Have I opted to do anything about it? At this point, no, but I am aware, and keeping an eye on the unaccredited incorporation of my thoughts. Originally, similar to what I mentioned above, it was flattering; now, it is purely repetitious. What happened to creativity? Although I guess Pablo Picasso would find the irony in said company’s incorporation of my thoughts. I guess in these particular circumstances the honor code is, and has been, superfluous.
So, does the honor code apply in a world in which it is all too easy to “steal” the words and creative expression of others? After all, the media is full of examples where students have cheated on exams through the K – 12 and higher education levels, or other artists who have misappropriated the work of their fellow artists. That is the key when it comes to creative expression; one artist is literally stealing from another. And, yet, both are trying to make ends meet in similar ways. Ironic, isn’t it? It’s fairly interesting to have a code that doesn’t seem to be relevant in some circumstances except when it suits a specific function. After all, Robert Fulghum claimed that all we really need to know we learned in kindergarten, and isn’t that where respect is part of the education children receive along with early reading skills? I guess, as adults, some have forgotten that.
See you in the next post!
Some favorite quotes to end today’s entry:
“Share everything. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Put things back where you found them.” (Robert Fulghum)
“Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value. It is a process; it’s not random.” (Sir Ken Robinson)