I’m a Plagiarist

I’m an honest thief, but at least I steal from the best. Last month I wrote a rambling post about meaninglessness, centering around a (drunken) thought I had: If something is, it is that thing absolutely, because if it’s not, then it could be anything, which means it’s really nothing.

I never claimed that was some kind of original thought, but I had no idea where it came from, or why it came to me so forcefully.

Five or six years ago I read Eric Voegelin’s Science, Politics and Gnosticism, and today I decided to re-read it. There, in the preface, was this:

Voegelin stands firm on ground prepared by Plato, Aristotle, and St. Augustine against the imaginative manipulators of Second Realities of all persuasions. “The nature of a thing cannot be changed; whoever tries to ‘alter’ its nature destroys the thing…”

Now, I don’t know if that’s where I got that thought, because I didn’t remember it, and reading it today surprised me. But who knows? Maybe that planted some seed in my brain five years ago that finally pushed through the rocky soil once it received enough nourishment from whiskey and beer.

I wonder how many thoughts we have that are like that.

Or maybe I’m a giant of intellect like Voegelin, but with superior command of the vernacular.

Probably not. But at least I’m not Alex Haley (for that second link, the reference to Alex Haley is a little ways into the essay, but it’s worth it. RTWT), the dirty thief.

I guess the reason it hit me so forcefully is that it’s another dead giveaway. If someone is willing to alter the meaning of a thing, then you know that person is a Gnostic true believer. For those willing to accept the alteration, Gnostic fellow travelers.