On Being Plagiarised In The Work Of Frank Ocean

       We need to cultivate a culture of putting something back where we have taken something else away. The principle is simple: if there is an apple on the table, don't just pick up the apple, walk away with it, eat it. But when you pick up the apple, leave a flower in its place. I do not mean this literally; but I mean this figuratively. We walk around creating so many holes in our own lives and in the lives of others and in this universe, really, because we have not mastered this principle. Most have never even heard of this principle!
       The reason why plagiarism is a truly serious crime, is due to the fact that words are powerful. Words are powerful as weapons and words are powerful as healing balms. Go ahead and think back to your deepest hurt in life: it probably involved some painful words. Go ahead and think back to your greatest joy in life: it probably involves some powerfully loving, healing words. Words have the power to literally build a soul and to literally tear a soul down. Words are to the soul what a hammer, a nail, a knife, an ointment, a medicine; is to the body. You can break a body with a gun and you can break a mind with a word. Words are physical. They can break your mind or they can make your mind.
       Some would say that words cannot be stolen because they are not physical things. When I type here on my keypad, I am using my physical fingers, typing on a physical electronic device, looking at a physical screen in front of me. The words I type physically appear to you. You may be one of the people who have been physically released from rehab thanks to my words. You may be one of the people who have been saved from physical suicide, thanks to something you read that I penned down and released into the world. First I penned it down. Then I released it. Then you caught it. Now you are free, healed, you have light! You may be one of those people. To you, my words are physical. And to me, they surely are.
       I would like to formally address Frank Ocean's fans who tell me that I should feel honoured to be plagiarised by him. I would like to tell you, that honour does not come from dishonour. Honour comes from honour. There are times, when in battle or when in times of crises, when to do a dishonourable thing is something that could become your greatest honour; however, we are not soldiers in battle fighting a war and we are not fighting it out in a time of crisis. I am here, Frank Ocean is there, and he has used my words in a dishonourable way, by simply choosing to ignore the existence of the mind that penned the words that he saw fit enough to be in his treasured screenplay. He treasures his screenplay, obviously. It is a big project of his which he uses to promote his album, "Blonde". He has seen my words as fitting to add to his treasured project, but he conveniently leaves out the mind, the person, the heart that created what he wants to keep as his own. This is not an honour to me. This is a dishonour to me.
       Frank Ocean and I are not in the same boat. He is a hip hop artist, acquainted with people like reality t.v. stars, performers, singers, so on and so forth. Meanwhile, I am an intellectual. I am employed with two scientific journals, one invention company, I founded an astronomical society and up until a few months ago, I was working with an astrophysicist to help build a team for a satellite habitat for humanity (Earth 2.0 style) in outer space. I quit that job because I started having nightmares about the perils of humanity. I mentor CEOs, psychotherapists and scientists (to mention just a few). It may come as a surprise to those who work in the showbiz industry, to discover that there is in fact a whole world of people out there who do not idolize them. It is easy to get caught up in yourself when you have a million or so followers telling you how amazing you are... but there are seven billion people on the planet and some of us are doing other things aside from watching reality t.v. shows. And I am saying this to point out the fact that I am not climbing the same ladder that Frank Ocean is climbing. Therefore, there is absolutely no reason to not issue an apology to me, to credit me for my work and to be kind to me. I am not the competition... am I????
       I would also like to address the Frank Ocean fans who say that I don't matter because they don't know me. This is a completely irrelevant way of thinking. Frank Ocean knows me, that is why he has my work inside his work. I am not in a competition with Frank Ocean to find out which of us have more people who know us. Yes, you may not know me, but then why is my work in Frank Ocean's work? So now you should know me. Because it is not his work, it is my work! And this is the relevant way of thinking! I have no time for nonsensical thinking. So you do not know me, and now you are looking at my work there in your face, so now it is needful that you know me, because that is my work you are looking at. Simple. Be practical. No nonsense. Nonsense thinking is a waste of time.
       I have nothing negative to say about Frank Ocean. And it is not my intention to humiliate the individual. He probably produces good music and maybe he wants to do good things in this world. Usually, people do want to do good things in this world. But mostly, they also don't know how exactly to go about that.
       It is not right to act as though I should be honoured or even thankful to be plagiarised here. Just because he is famous, does not bring me honour. My great grandfather was a Taoist High Priest in China, for godsake, I know what the fuck honour means. And this isn't it!
       It is not right for Frank Ocean to act as though I am not worth his time of day. If you put my work in your work and your work is worth your time of day, then I sure as hell am worth your time of day. Maybe you are not worth mine. But I love my work, I respect my readers and fans, so I will address this issue and treat it as it should be treated. I have an immensely amazing following of people who are highly respected individuals: intellectuals, humanitarians, movers and shakers! The caliber of people I work with and who respect me, is enough to make me feel overwhelmed. They are accomplished, influential, amazing people. So when I am disrespected by a hip hop artist, I do not feel anger. I feel pity. I wholeheartedly feel sorry for Frank Ocean right now and that is all I feel. No anger whatsoever.
       There is a better way of being, and we can all be that. Even Frank Ocean can be that. Do not assume that others are lucky to have you walk in their front door; assume first that you are nothing, then if you are welcomed to the table, then you know you are something to them. In this case, my work was welcomed to the table. But then I was told to sit outside. Meanwhile, I am expected to feel lucky to have him walk through my door, though I did not know he would sit at my table! This is all wrong.
       All conflicts can be fixed. But in order for that to happen, all parties must acknowledge the other and must want to arrive at a positive outcome. Let us all strive to stop creating holes in this world. Put something back where you took something away from. That is all.

On The Issue Of Frank Ocean, His Screenplay, And What It Feels Like To Be Plagiarised

Seeing as this issue is going around everywhere now, it looks like I need to formally address it.
I was contacted by the wonderful Cal from Genius a few days ago. He asked me if I had given permission for my work to be used in Frank Ocean's recent screenplay that he wrote "based upon his own childhood/life". I told Cal that no, I had not given permission. In all honesty, before Cal contacted me, I didn't even know who Frank Ocean is. I am not saying anything bad about the artist or his work, but it is a fact and a part of reality that I simply did not know who he was. He is probably a great artist who produces great stuff. But I just didn't know him.

I explained to Cal how I feel about discovering my work was plagiarised. We had a pleasant discussion about it. He said that he would contact Frank Ocean's people and that they would sort things out. Today I have discovered, thanks to French media ActuaLitté, that Frank Ocean and his people have refused to comment on the issue. This is what surprises me. I was really just expecting this whole thing to be a non-issue. I was expecting them/him to simply say something like, "Oh I tried to find who the author is but I couldn't find who it is", then they would update the article with credit due to me, announce that there was a mistake, and that would be the end of the whole story! So, as you can imagine, I am terribly surprised to find out from French media that this had taken a dramatic turn with Ocean's refusal to simply comment or simply say something nice! See, Frank Ocean is making this into a dramatic issue by not saying anything about it, when in reality, it would be very easy to just say something kind and then correct the mishap by giving credit to me and issuing an apology for the mistake.

I was definitely plagiarised, because it was just a simple copy-and-paste; word-for-word. It was not even modified. It was just a copy-and-paste. Like from Goodreads perhaps. I usually give people the benefit of the doubt, and up until I learned that they have refused to comment, I thought they would just say they found it somewhere and couldn't find the author. Well, at least they are being honest?? Silence means "I won't lie no more"??

You can read the screenplay here.

You can read the follow-up article that Genius did on the issue of plagiarism in the screenplay here.

The plagiarised words are these words: The only problem with her is that she is too perfect. She is bad in a way that entices, and good in a way that comforts. She is mischief but then she is the warmth of home.The dreams of the wild and dangerous but the memories of childhood and gladness. She is perfection. And when given something perfect, it is the nature of man to dedicate his mind to finding something wrong with it and then when he is able to find something wrong with it, he rejoices in his find, and sees only the flaw, becoming blind to everything else! And this is why man is never given anything that is perfect, because when given the imperfect and the ugly, man will dedicate his mind to finding what is good with the imperfect and upon finding one good thing with the extremely flawed, he will only see the one good thing, and no longer see everything else that is ugly. And so...man complains to God for having less than what he wants...but this is the only thing that man can handle. Man cannot handle what is perfect. It is the nature. It is the nature of the mortal to rejoice over the one thing that he can proudly say that he found on his own, with no help from another, whether it be a shadow in a perfect diamond, or a faint beautiful reflection in an extremely dull mirror.

My words can be found here.

They can also be found here.

My words can also be found within my pages of my book Vade Mecum.

I just want to thank French media for picking up on this story and for bringing it to my attention. I also thank Cal for being so mindful and thoughtful and conscientious, enough to take the time to contact me and to really care about the matter.

When I am inspired by someone, I tell them. And I tell others. In fact, I was recently inspired by my cousin's wife. She wears cool outfits. Before I even started wearing the outfits, I told her how much her style inspired me. Then I tagged her on Facebook and told our friends. This is a mundane example of how paying it forward isn't just about doing good deeds for others to see; but how paying it forward is about keeping the ball rolling. When others inspire you, try to inspire them, too. When you take, you also need to give back to where you have taken from. And that can really help make our world a better place.

Racism: An Overused Word

       I hear the word "racist" way too often these days. And I mean really, really way too often. It is an overused word for those short on vocabulary. I think that most of the time, cultures between people are simply not compatible and it just so happens that there is usually a race attached to a certain cultural heritage. I really do not think that people are being "racist". I really do think that people's cultures are often incompatible.
      Sure, there are true cases of actual racism. However, not even near as many cases to justify the almost constant use of the word "racist". Different people forming different races usually come from a set cultural background and it is those backgrounds that are often incompatible with other cultural backgrounds.
       Why are cultures often incompatible with one another? That's simple. Each culture has its own way of interpreting values that all human beings hold as very central to our existence. When there are values that we all hold as very central to the interpretation of our existence and we see those very same values being interpreted in a completely different way than how we know and believe to be integral to existing as a moral human being; there are bound to be conflicts! Some of our cultures are highly incompatible and quite often very opposite!
       The good news is that we really are under no obligation to curate our cultures in our own homes in order to appease those who visit our homes. And if they want to stay, they need to adapt our own cultures. It is the same story when we go to visit the homes of others. The only universal rule of all cultures, which all cultures must subjugate themselves to regardless of who goes where, is the rule of not hurting another person.
       How can we avoid hurting another person when something that is not hurtful to us in our own culture might be very hurtful to them in theirs? First and foremost, do not physically harm any other human being unless they have physically harmed you and you are defending yourself. Secondly, do not take advantage of others. Taking advantage of other people is hurtful in any culture, to any family, to any group of people. Do not use others to your advantage without sincere intentions towards them. This is universally hurtful. All other points may be ironed out, but not this one.
       Meanwhile, many people actually believe that to merely see the anthropological differences amongst races is enough to be called a "racist". In reality, the anthropological differences between the races is simply a scientific fact. It is not a belief in the head, it is a scientific fact. Some are generally shorter, others generally taller. Some are generally bigger-boned while others are smaller-boned in general. It is not the differences themselves that are problematic; rather, it is the meaning that people attach to those differences that become problematic. People wanting to be tall when they cannot be tall, people wanting to be short then they cannot be short. People wanting to be bigger when they are smaller and people wanting to be smaller when they are bigger. People wanting to play basketball when they are better physically suited for soccer and people who are better physically suited for basketball wanting to play soccer. Herein lies the problem: that people expect others to be like them, or expect themselves to be just like others! Instead of finding the strengths in what is their own; they find the strengths in what is not their own which they wish they had! Is that true equality? Should it be called "equality" when I strive to be you and do what you do best, instead of striving to be me and doing what I can do best? Is this your meaning of "equality"? Because if so, how feeble a word it is on your tongues! Why do we always feel the need to prove to others that we can do anything that they can do? There are many things we can do better that they can't; so what is the problem? Accept the differences, focus on your own strengths.
       We also carry within us our own culture. Our cultures dictate how we interact with others and how we carry ourselves on a daily basis. We must live to the highest standards of our culture, so long as we believe that it elevates us unto the best possible version of ourselves and so long as it does not demand that we physically hurt another or that we take advantage of another. We should only change our own culture, if there is evidence that it is inferior to another. If our culture is inferior to another, we may expand our open mindedness and develop better ways. Are some cultures inferior? Of course! Almost every day, I have improved upon the culture I carry within my mind, for when I find something inferior about the culture within my mind, I change it, I open my mind to adapt what is superior so that the following day I will have improved myself! Now, on a macrocosmic scale, we may judge the inferiority of our cultures depending on where our cultures have gotten us in society as a whole, in how we interact with other people, in how we work with others, etc.
       So, as you can see, while I believe that there are some who truly suffer from actual racism, I am of the persuasion that there are too many people who do not realise how incompatible some of our cultures are and how these backgrounds entail that we simply can never get along with some, on this basis. Face the reality: there are types of people that you will never be able to get along with and it has nothing to do with the colour of their skin; it has everything to do with what is inside their minds.

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