Today’s scholarship has become an exercise in copying. I mean, the more entries you’ve on your bibliography the higher your paper, dissertation or thesis is rated or graded. We have come to call it research, and what is research if not the legitimization of plagiarism. More often than not, an academic paper is all about what everyone else said but the author. They start off quoting and quoting and quoting, then proceed to analyze and analyze and analyze those quotes, and then close by drawing obvious conclusions.
I woke up this morning with this thought on my mind: How did the ancients do it? #howdidtheyusetodoit. How could Aristotle write those big fat volumes with very little dose of ‘quotings’? How did Plato compose all those dialogues with little recourse to other materials? How did St. Paul produce those 13 (or 14) of the 27 books of the New Testament credited to him with only a minimal recourse to Old Testament scriptures? How did Thomas Aquinas write those volumes that make up his “Summa Theoligica” with little external inputs? How did Kant and Nietzsche write those seeming crazy pieces of theirs? How did Hume, Locke and Hobbes do it? #iStillTheWonder. Don’t get it twisted, it wasn’t like they weren’t quoting; they were, but very very very minimal. They were more of airing their views than reporting the finds of others.
My point: One thing school does to us is insult our intelligence. For instance, the dominant question on the lips of project supervisors is: What authority backs you? Or, get me the material where you found it. I’m angry because we’re not promoting original thinking; I realized that the ancients did it by indulging original thinking. And so we must rediscover the power of original thinking, and begin to employ them in both academic works and engaging our dawn to dusk problems.
This example will do. Peter Drucker has become the father of ‘scientific’ management. How did it happen? When he set out to research into that area, he found that there was little or no materials available. He then went on to deploy the power of original thinking, and here we are!
P.S. To academic guys in the house, be informed that I’m not feeling like anything. I’m simply insisting that students are capable of original thinking and should be given a chance to try.