"That ideas should spread freely from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property." - Thomas Paine
Thomas "Tom" Paine (February 9, 1737 [O.S. January 29, 1736] – June 8, 1809) was an author, pamphleteer, radical, inventor, intellectual, revolutionary, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He has been called "a corsetmaker by trade, a journalist by profession, and a propagandist by inclination."
Tom's smile is distinctive. On Google's Images, there are several portraits of Tom and two things stand out, drawn similar in most of his portraits. One is his smile, shown in different poses, always recognizable. The other is his rather prominent nose. I am convinced that we rather do know what Tom Paine looked like.
I feel very much as Tom does, that in nature "inventions" (that is, creative acts) are by nature interdependent on a whole constellation of beings, moments, and events. Creative acts are so entangled with sources of inspiration that it really means very little that, for example, some poem comes into the world through me. Intellectual property only makes sense in society as a move to generate income. There is no other sense in which I can or you can be said to "own" a creative act. That we were first with it means so little, especially when most "original" notions have already been expressed many times before in some other form.
Under certain conditions I feel closest to God when I create. I feel then like I am the most deserving of His attention, and I feel I am the most likely to be doing His will for me. It is said in some circles that Man is made in the Image/Likeness of God. Though this phrase is Christian the vision extends far beyond Christian sentiment. What else can be the heart of the Image and Likeness of God but those moments when we come closest to making something from nothing? And by bitter experience I know intimately that I cannot create, not really unless I also love, forgive, hold mercy and compassion close. This is just true.
On Being The Right Size
I took out my tools,
started building the world new,
just as you said to.
You said I make worlds
by fabricating something
and changing the old
and if I did not
then that one chance would be lost
forever. Oh my.
What a large burden.
When seen the way you say it
I feel really small.
January 30, 2009 2:56 PM
First Posted, July 22, 2009