The fruits of unwitting behavior

July 1, 2013

I have been mulling over the unwitting copy-cat phenomenon, and I have been thinking about when the shoe has been on the other foot.

I have been intentionally plagiarized.  The remedy for that lies with the community, and I was told by a mentor that there was none when it happened to me.  In fact, in one instance a mentor facilitated the plagiarism, gave my ideas, from a privately circulated draft, to a male colleague who was up for tenure and needed to publish.  He saw nothing wrong with that, and I learned that in that system, if your mentor won’t go to bat for you, that’s it.

When I’ve had my stuff used perhaps unwittingly, I have wanted acknowledgement that it happened.  I have also resented when the other person profited directly and materially from it if they had no personal relationship with me.  If I’ve given them an opportunity to work that out with me and they’ve declined, then my remedy is to see them more clearly as they are and not, for instance, as they have claimed to be.  How they respond to my attempt to work things out also helps me see them more clearly.

There have been multiple instances in which a person has asked me for my contribution and committed to reciprocating in some way and then backed out.  Sometimes the commitment has been in writing, sometimes not.  It is clear to me from the pattern that the lesson for me there is not about whether a commitment has been made (I used to get hung up on that), but accepting that people break commitments, do real and lasting damage, and that it is not mine to put that right, that I have to trust that I can get my needs met some other way and that they will learn what they need to learn some other way.  I let go and let God.  Often I let go of them as well as of the situation.

I think what’s relevant here to my copy-catting issue is being open to the other person’s feedback.


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