You can’t say it unless someone else has said it before you

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Writing a Dissertation is frustrating, as is writing any other piece of academic work. Those of you going through the joys of academic life will surely recognise the feeling at some point or another of your careers, especially when faced with Big Fat Papers like Dissertations and Thesis. The most frustrating part, unlike most of you might think is not actually coming up with an interesting enough idea or keeping that fragile flame of interest alive all through your project, but the reference mania on which the scientific foundations of academia rely. That is especially true in the case of social sciences, since let’s face it, there is nothing scientific about them apart from the general bibliographic craziness.

We lack the rigour of the pure sciences so we take refuge in an absurd quantity of references and never-consulted bibliographical sources as well as the ridiculous practice of cataloguing and compulsive classification. What is really an academic piece of work by these standards? It is mostly a catalogue of what other scholars have said before organised in a manner that kind of, approximately implies what we wanted to say when we first started the project, but not really, adorned with the occasional weird classifications, data tables and the like. You know, to make it all seem more serious. And if we are blessed with the gift of knowing our audience, then it is all oriented at impressing them, forget about what you wanted to say unless someone else already said it before you. Then it’s ok, go ahead, repeat compulsively. That is the basis of academic work. Forget originality. In love with your idea? I hate to break it to you, your love will either turn to ardent hate or flagrant indifference by the time you get to cataloguing, I mean, writing phase. Why? Well if you want to make your money’s worth and get that degree, PhD, publish that book or whatever, you can’t say what you want to say, that is, unless someone else has said it before you.

BUT, you should never stop trying to break through!

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