Intellectual property is a harmful delusion

There is nothing in the world more free than ideas. Ideas cannot be contained in singular objects, but are multiply realizable in many different materials. Ideas are not naturally scarce, but "intellectual scarcity" is a delusion humanity has created so that some people can win the "truth" game, which is to say, the persuasion game. It's all about who has the biggest idea, much like a contest of who has the biggest house, the hottest wife, the highest status, etc.

We need to stop playing zero-sum games. Every game that humanity plays is a game of its own construction. I will do everything I can to bring about the abolition of intellectual property and the abolition of plagiarism. Plagiarism is not wrong, it's just lazy. Stop caring about getting credit for your ideas. I don't.

I hit rock bottom, and my spade is turned. Who said that? Oh, was it Wittgenstein? It could also have been a humble gardener. What makes Wittgenstein so special that he gets credit for that idea? It's doubtful he was the first to ever use it, just the first to write it down in a certain pleasing way, the first to lay claim to it.

But is this a new idea? Our understanding stops at a certain point, we're told. But while this may be true for most people, it is not true for all and it is certainly not true for humanity as a whole. Humanity as a whole has gotten smarter, because individual human beings have gotten smarter. We are moving at an exponential pace in the development of our knowledge, and within perhaps as few as 5 years, the world could be so different as to be unrecognizable to the uninitiated.

Let's stop carving up the world of ideas in the same way we carve up the world of natural resources. They have different logics. They are formally the same, but the complexity of the form is discernible only to those who are willing to see it.

Belief is a matter of choice. Some of us are just really bad at choosing our beliefs. We cling to certain words, and forget that a word is not the same thing as an idea. A word has affective resonance that a mere idea lacks. That is, words are more complex ideas. Words are images, which are always partial if one does not understand the whole. But once one understands the whole, one is able to appreciate all of the parts.

Spinoza said that the whole of mental life was God's mind, the composite sum of all human minds existing together in communities. To that, I would also add in non-human animals, computers, robots, machines, or whatever sentient beings happen to exist. "Mind is the idea of body," as he argues.


Lara Jane | Ultimate Lifestyle Project said...

Brilliant, I particularly enjoyed this post.

Dom E said...

Funny, this was written at the height of my period of insanity last year. I guess it highlights that there's a fine line between genius and madness.