An Idea

“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening mine” Thomas Jefferson

(See H.A. Washington, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, printed by the United States Congress, 1853–54, vol. VI, p. 180.) from Chapter 3.1 Knowledge as a Public Good in ebook Knowledge Unbound: Selected writings on open access 2002-2011 by Peter Suber, MIT Press, 2016.

I like to start my days, particularly when in the push of academic work, sitting beside a window, coffee in hand, reading research, books, articles, blog posts. The glow of the early morning light gives me hope in the newness of the day, the joy of reading new ideas, work written by others. This ritual of greeting the day with reading and writing is relatively new since I started this PhD program. Now, it is an in-grained practice and when my day doesn’t start this way, I find myself looking for balance. New ideas come from the material I read, my reflections on that reading, and my wonder in why I hadn’t found this gem of information before.

This is how today started. I wonder how I did not find this particular MIT Press Open resources or this particular gem of a book before. Now I need to spend my mornings reading the chapters to glean new information from these words from another, written and openly shared. Just as the Thomas Jefferson quote reminds me, by sharing my thoughts and ideas openly, through writing this blog or other publications, I am not lessened. I am not diminished. I am enhanced. By writing my ideas, I am becoming – more open, more academic, more ready to write. I return to the notion of hupomnemata [Foucault, Michel. “Self Writing.” Translated from Corps écrit no 5 (Feb. 1983): 3-23].

My gift to myself, as a new day begins, as the sun rises over the ridge outside my window.

Photo by Terry Tan De Hao on Unsplash