May 20, 2012

Steal and Pretend

Based on a few notes in a datebook, I've started some research about the Massachusetts' Bay Puritans' ban of Christmas on 1659, and the actual background behind the idea that - as we can see today - didn't really got far. The ideas haven't crystalized enough, but as I was spinning the idea of how first Christianity took over Yule to make it a Christian celebration, (and Halloween/All Saints' Day), they claim it to be theirs only to then throw it away declaring it Pagan. Then today at Mass I heard a quote from the Bible where Jesus talked to their disciples about following the path He has shown to them, even though they get to be chasen and condemned, and done so by people who say to be acting in God's name. This gave a new twist to the plot, where the very words of Christ were twisted around and used to serve the interests of a part of society. Isn't it particularly funny that back then Jesus and his apostoles were condemned by main stream religions, outcasted, while they talked about love, and stood up against the stiff, unnatural structures that pulled mankind away from God, and now Christianity chases those who stand up for different ways to approach God or Divinity?

But I won't go into that right now, that perhaps will find its way to another post, but today, as these thoughts went around in my head, many plagiarism cases came to my mind. Some of them have shaken careers, as it has happened in Hungary, when it came to knowledge that the President had stolen parts of other people's work in his dissertation, and then a former Prime Minister was accused to plagiating the thesis of a brother-in-law. The first case provoked the demise of the President, and the second is still under investigation. However there are other cases of plagiarism, where people shamelessly take the work of others and present it as their own, or don't even mind putting their names on it, but present it namelessly and let people draw any conclusion.

From plagiarism at the office, where the argument often is that "we are not in college anymore, so these things don't matter in real life anymore", to scenes copied from an internet free story into a published book, or an article from an online magazine copied into a forum or a blog, claiming that either "things in the internet are free" to "imitation is the highest form of admiration". But be it as it may, stealing and presenting things in another light - either directly or indirectly - is still a disgusting business. Stealing is stealing - an curiously I believe there's a Commandment in every civilization, every society and every religion against it - no matter what you say or how you wish to explain it. Be it as it may, when you steal and claim that thing or concept to be yours, you are setting off a bomb that will be defused in the future. If you steal for a piece or a work, how do you explain that you can't produce another piece like that? It may happen at any time that the job gets found out, then what would you do? Pretend it's nothing? And if it's such a small matter, why weren't you able to do it by yourself?

The thing with stealing, it's that it's a contaminating business: you may steal once, but from the moment it gets discovered, everything you've done and you do in life will be seen as product of stealing, stamping it upon every single act in your life. Thing is that, as it happens with people, so happens with what people build. A person who's reputation is stained by theft, is ruined and nobody would ever thrust them again, but also a company that steals or an organization that lies can be thrusted. So, how much harder would it hit a religion, that started out on honest, good intentions and derailed in short term solutions to bring its teachings to the wide world. And if those short term solutions were based upon lies and merciful compromises? What happens when so many of these have been used that the bases of a religion are weakened and cave in under the pressure of the truth?

The funny thing is that the reality of the Divine isn't touched by it - that uses no plagiarims - but the means to reach to it, to understand it, to commune with it can be corrupted and suddenly let a lot of people at loss, and civilizations could collapse because of too many lies and too much theft.

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