The human plagiarism which is most difficult to avoid, for individuals...is the plagiarism of ourself.
We have come, in large part, to use standardized-test scores and other objective measurements to provide opportunities to students who score well—opportunities that are much scarcer for others. But is it enough to look for such narrowly defined academic skills? Is it not time to search for and develop the wisdom and positive ethical skills that we need in order to steer this country up the slippery slope rather than down? Once started on that slide, it is hard to stop before the crash at the bottom. Just ask any disgraced politician, executive, clergyman, or educator. While unethical behavior may start in schools with plagiarism or stolen exams, we know all too sadly, and all too well, that it doesn't end there.
Print culture gave birth to the romantic notions of "originality" and "creativity", which set apart an individual work from other works even more, seeing its origins and meaning as independent of outside influence, at least ideally. When in the past few decades doctrines of intertextuality arose to counteract the isolationist aesthetics of a romantic print culture, they came as a kind of shock.