On Sincerity and Citation

This was written after resting, having delivered answers to questions with a few minutes to spare, up unto deadline, on Palestinian and Israeli conflicts through history.


I must say, that this was a fascinating study in psychology — because upon reflection, the hour was drawing near and I had written “APR 16” as the deadline where “4” was overwritten upon the “6”, which while corrective, was not met with the same sincerity as writing “16”. I had received in the mail, Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B.F. Skinner (1971), whom we studied in PSYCH-321, and the value was judged significantly great to start reading it upon arrival.

The implications of this reading is profound, as it touches on every course and this very life entire. That said, what I found most fascinating came down to looking up at the clock around 10:27 PM, then over to the list of tasks for the week, and realizing the 4 instead of the 6. The very subject of Skinner’s book shone brightly, here comes a potential “punitive contingency” in a threat to dignity, and there was a seeking to escape this potential. Even more fascinating was the pressure to rapidly review the text in order to assemble a post, thus realizing I could not set aside the typical four to six hours to visualize and dramatize the reading to truly study, but rather than skimming.

I set about trading citations, which seem to slow down velocity in the comings and goings of writing by way of what can only be described as an olympic gymnastic routine of high metabolism to produce embedded citations. The requirement of awkward parenthetical key presses, then shifting the hands to numerics, followed by the commas, page abbreviation, period, then back up to numerics. It seems very awkward and where the citation tax offering tribute, which is very valuable in scientific endeavors, seems to be ever more grueling in higher speed single pursuits. This may be rationalization, however a defense mechanism accompanies, it isn’t the cause.

The tradeoff worked to meet the deadline by a few minutes, however the sacrifice of citation is met with a kind of sincere loss for words to describe the sadness within which is felt in text that does not have it. I think the Arabs, who were rushing to build their own nation from within, to do it on their own, without time, and minimal resource — to beat this deadline of their impending doom, seeing others outrun them. I feel an odd kinship with Arabs, a large empathy. They tried so hard to form their own countries, when other countries came in contact, yet the citations were omitted, tribute was omitted, and Edward Said’s Orientalism took hold. 

Human behavior is rather interesting, and I hope that this small hour and a half lesson in trading citation for time [compression] is valuable, and I hope that sharing it, is more so. In finality, I also must express the deep knowledge and wisdom, that I cannot say an apology, nor can I say I will do better next time, nor can I say lesson learned, because I do value Skinner’s writing so much, as I do value everyone who did what environments conditioned them to do… more than the veil of a thought that volition is independent of environments. No, people did not do these things — as stated in the book reviewed, behaviors did, and that’s the only hope I think for a peoples to escape the bondage of self and other, and we and they, and finally of brand and land.

Thank you,
Roy Æ Hodges