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Michelle Allison @fatnutritionist
, 10 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
I have a lot to say about the ownership of ideas (especially ideas related to social movements whose end goal is to change the culture for the better, NOT to build individual careers or individual glory) as it relates to the hellscape of competition for survival, but I'm tired.
We all do this, and it's a sickness we need to be healed of, but we live in a system where our ECONOMIC SURVIVAL is tied to receiving credit for (and possessive control over) our ideas. Yet that control limits the spread of ideas that require wide distribution for social change.
It's a terrible Catch-22, like everything in late capitalism. It has probably undermined the work of radical social change. I think of it like this, personally: ideas (abt social ills) exist to be discovered and shared. Credit is warranted; absolute ownership and control is not.
(I am not talking about artistic ideas, where maybe more arguments about creation, control and ownership can be entertained, but even then, you can see how difficult it is, once something enters the culture, for it to be absolutely contained and owned by one person or entity.)
I've borrowed and leaned heavily on other people's work. I have also seen "my" ideas imbedded in others' work, and I remind myself the point is for those ideas to spread, not for me to cash in on them so I can feel important...though we all deserve to cash in enough to survive.
It's kind of awful to even have to consider these things, since of course we all inherently deserve to survive and live in a comfortable and dignified manner regardless of our "ideas" or cultural production, but these are the circumstances I have to work with.
The people who deserve to cash in the most are those who've been working on these issues, but to whom any rewards have been historically denied. My duty in that is to make more of an effort to give credit and share platforms, especially with people whose work has been suppressed.
The logic and traditions of capitalism require me to be in direct and vicious competition with the people I'm trying to make social change with. I hate that. And I'm way too lazy for that, frankly. I'd rather be reading a book than trying to figure out how to screw over an ally.
Just...be wary of anyone out to make a name for themselves regardless of their impact on social change. Be wary of the urge to do it yourself. We were all taught this as a means of economic survival, but also as a means of symbolic immortality that soothes our existential dread.
None of our names will mean shit in a very brief period of cosmic time. Making a positive difference right-fucking-now for all of us living through the beautiful nightmare that is human existence means a lot more.
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