I Steal, Therefore I Am
Prometheus didn't steal fire from the gods, he copied it from them and shared it with us.
The Big Steal

The people that he shared it with took it, and turned it into a million marvellous things that led us out of the darkness and gave us the power to shape our universe.

The gods weren't deprived of their fire, yet we had it too. The only thing they lost was their monopoly, which was fine because what we would do with the fire didn't impinge on their ability to continue being gods, whatever that meant.

Then a funny thing happened.

As the gods became aware of the people's inventiveness, they began to assimilate those very ideas and techniques that had long ago turned fire into Future, and caused such fury. The sharing and mixing began to feed back into the consciousness of the initial creators, and newer, more wonderous technology was born.

Cycle by cycle, turn by turn, we progress. And so it goes.

..the Gods however, still desire to chain our collective Prometheii to the rock.

Wiser Words

"If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."
- Isaac Newton, paraphrasing Bernard of Chartres (..see what he did there?)

"If you steal from one author, it's plagiarism;
if you steal from many, it's research."
- Wilson Mizner, quoted in Frank Case's Takes of a Wayward Inn

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."
- Albert Einstein, (probably apocryphal) unsourced attribution (ho ho!)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch,
you must first invent the universe."
- Carl Sagan, Cosmos

"The old fellows stole all of our best ideas."
- Frederic Goudy, wikipedia

"It comes down to trying to expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then try to bring those things in to what you're doing. I mean Picasso had a saying, he said 'good artists copy, great artists steal'; and we have, you know, always been shameless about stealing great ideas."
- Steve Jobs, Triumph of the Nerds

"Talent borrows, genius steals."
- Oscar Wilde, wikipedia

"Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn."
- T. S. Eliot, The Sacred Wood

..long, but totally worth it..

Nor would I scruple, with a due regard,
To read sometimes a rude unpolish'd bard.
Among whose labours I may find a line.
Which from unsightly rust I may refine.
And, with a better grace, adopt it into mine.

How often may we see a troubled flood,
Stain'd with unsettled ooze, and rising mud?
Which, (if a well the bord'ring natives sink)
Supplies the thirsty multitude with drink.

The trickling stream by just degrees refines,
Till in its course the limpid current shines;
And taught thro' secret labyrinths to flow,
Works itself clear among the sands below.

For nothing looks so gloomy, but will shine
From proper care, and timely discipline;
If, with due vigilance and conduct, wrought
Deep in the soul, it labours in the thought.

Hence on the ancients we must rest alone,
And make their golden sentences our own.
To cull their best expressions claims our cares.
To form our notions, and our styles on theirs.

See how we bear away their precious spoils.
And with the glorious dress enrich our styles;
Their bright inventions for our use convey,
Bring all the spirit of their words away.
And make their words themselves our lawful prey.

Unsham'd in other colours to be shown,
We speak our thoughts in accents not our own.
But your design with modest caution weigh.
Steal with due care, and meditate the prey.

Invert the order of the words with art,
And change their former site in ev'ry part.
Thus win your readers, thus deceive with grace,
And let th' expresion wear a diff'rent face;

Your self at last, the glorious labour done.
Will scarce discern his diction from your own.
Some, to appear of diffedence bereft.
Steal in broad day, and glory in the theft;

When with just art, design, and confidence.
On the fame words they graft a diff'rent sense;
Preserve th' unvari'd terms and order too.
But change their former spirit for a new.

- Marco Girolamo Vida, Art of Poetry - 1725

"Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don't bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said:

'It's not where you take things from - it's where you take them to.'"
- Jim Jarmusch Rule #5: Nothing is original

"Dostoyevsky wrote Crime and Punishment because he was behind on his rent and didn't want to get evicted. So rent is always a reason. But the ideas seem to come when I'm under pressure and I wake up in the middle of the night to pee. In the absence of rent or urination I rely on theft."
- Alex Weis, A Multiplex Called Home

"Oh, dear me, how unspeakably funny and owlishly idiotic and grotesque was that "plagiarism" farce! As if there was much of anything in any human utterance, oral or written, except plagiarism! The kernel, the soul--let us go farther and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances in plagiarism. For substantially all ideas are second hand, consciously or unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources and daily use by the garnerer with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them; whereas there is not a rag of originality about them any where except the little discoloration they get from his mental and moral calibre and his temperament, which is revealed in characteristics of phrasing.

When a great orator makes a great speech you are listening to ten thousand men--but we call it his speech, and really some exceedingly small portion of it is his. But not enough to signify. It is merely a Waterloo. It is Wellington's battle, in some degree, and we call it his but there were others that contributed. It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a telephone, or any other important thing--and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite--that ninety-nine parts of all things that proceed from the intellect are plagiarisms, pure and simple; and the lesson ought to make us modest. But nothing can do that."

- Mark Twain Letter to Miss Keller (St. Patrick's Day, 1903)

"[In] truth, in literature, in science and in art, there are, and can be, few, if any, things, which in an abstract sense, are strictly new and original throughout. Every book in literature, science and art, borrows, and must necessarily borrow, and use much which was well known and used before."
- Emerson v. Davies 8 F.Cas. 615, 619 (No. 4,436) (CCD Mass. 1845)

"My friend's claim seeks to apply a worn out law to a new reality. Books are different to other chattels and the law should recognise this. Learned men like us, who have received a new heritage of knowledge through books, have an obligation to spread that knowledge, by copying and distributing those books far and wide.

I haven't used up Finnian's book by copying it. He still has the original and that original is none the worse for my having copied it. Nor has it decreased in value because I made a transcript of it. The knowledge in books should be available to anybody who wants to read them and has the skills or is worthy to do so; and it is wrong to hide such knowledge away or to attempt to extinguish the divine things that books contain. It is wrong to attempt to prevent me or anyone else from copying it or reading it or making multiple copies to disperse throughout the land.

In conclusion I submit that it was permissible for me to copy the book because, although I benefited from the hard work involved in the transcription, I gained no worldly profit from the process, I acted for the good of society in general and neither Finnian nor his book were harmed."

- St. Colum Cille, Ireland - 540 A.D.

~ 2011 ☺ 2021 ~