Month: May 2007
“How did I come to know what I know about the world and myself? What ought I to know? What would I like to know that I don’t know? If I want to know about this or that, where can I get the clearest, best and latest information? And where did these other people about me get their ideas about things, which are sometimes so different from mine?” H.G. Wells
I found this quote on one of favorite paces to go for ideas and opinions. At the EDGE, John Brockman and company go for the deep and thoughtful questions and ideas which bother some of the better thinkers of our age. http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge208.html In this piece, WHO SAYS WE KNOW: On the New Politics of Knowledge, Larry Sanger, a co-founder of Wikipedia, considers the ins and outs of our ability to acquire useful and truthful knowledge. Sanger raises the personal question of how each of us knows who we are and in addition who are those around us? Then there are more questions about facts. Like how do we find and rate content? How do we find out about products, places, and people? The big one has to be how do we know about ourselves and decide how to use this information. These are not easy questions to answer but ones that have deep implications for our future. It is easy to pick up ideas as truth. My grandchildren often tell me phantasmagoric things that they truly believe. We can see the confusion between facts and different slices of fantasy everywhere. I use to believe everything I read and now I belive everything I click on. Most of it may be gossip but its exciting and therefore its carried around as facts. I do it because I am human, and sometimes I forget about the rigor of logic and putting facts in the well researched only pile.
At http://www.wikipedia.org/alone there are millions of articles. How do any of us weed out the facts? Test any of the articles and look for facts. If you come up short you can go through the challenging process of submitting edit corrections on all the subjective content. I noted that the piece on Dr. Bowen has more than one error but who among us has the time to fix them? Well, after complaining to others ( which is immature) I made one attempt. See- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_Bowen#History I did not want to argue with all of the ideas, so I noted that Dr. Bowen wrote down the facts of his life as he saw them. I also said that there are many papers and audio plus video tapes available at the National Library of Medicine and at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family. Will it do any good? Perhaps! It was well worth the effort. People will have various interpretations of Dr. Bowen’s life and motives. My effort can not alter that fact. It is still worth while to let Dr. Bowen speak for himself. His vita was written in 1990 about ten months before he died. You can find it under Dr. Bowen on this site.
People know, our brains love subjectivity and find facts dull. Now knowing this we can begin any effort to “know” with great respect for facts and a great respect for the difficulty of communicating ideas.
One personal exercise in this area is to write up your own story. It is good to do it before someone else does it for you. I have just finished redoing my effort see About Andrea
Hope you too are having fun being factual.