Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Plagiarism, You Say? Blame It On Inception
Yep, this contains reference to the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and directed by Christopher Nolan. From the movie, inception is the process of planting an idea into someone's head through dreams.
Earlier today I attended Dean Leonen's talk on plagiarism, and why people should stand up against intellectual dishonesty in our courts (the Supreme Court in particular). The Vinuya decision "written" by Justice Del Castillo has stirred quite a commotion in the law community, to the extent of pitting UP against Ateneo and others. While UP Law is demanding accountability through resignation, Del Castillo supporters are looking to due process and the application of law in determining the ponente's fate.
The Dean pointed out that the trickiest form of plagiarism is when one person is exposed to an idea, which then takes root in that person's head. Repeated and hazy bombardment of the idea leads the person to entertain the thought that 'hey, I can't get this idea off my mind, it's probably mine." That person then appropriates the idea as his own, without acknowledging the source of the idea. An unintentional case of plagiarism? Maybe. Or probably it's just too complicated for the person to trace down the origin of the thought.
So, is anyone really safe from 'inception' (or infiltration)? The first question in the movie is, 'is inception even possible?' On the premise that it is, we have never been exposed to so much information, until the Internet happened. Data instantly invades our consciousness the moment we access the internet. With people eager to give their two-cent's worth, comments and opinions flood our social network pages. We may be unconscious of the effects of information sharing, but every bit attaches to our minds I suppose.
Are there safeguards? Just like in the movie, I think there are. It helps to be discerning of the information available on the Net. Also, plagiarism can be avoided by simply being honest. Yes, despite the pressures of publishing something or coming up with an awesome idea, being humble enough to acknowledge another person's work adds to the credibility of the borrower-person. I believe values still go a long way even at a time of ever-changing technology and viewpoints.
Posted by Juan Antonio E. Arcilla at 5:29 AM