I. Quote about Knowledge
“There are no whole truths- all truths are half-truths” – Alfred North Whitehead, 1861-1947
About truth, which we discussed in class, I find it fascinating, the part of personal interpretation that it holds. And this particular quote seems very relevant to me. Indeed, no truth is absolutely, unconditionally universal. And we can’t prove it ; that’s the truth.
What better example that Matrix to illustrate that ? Is what we have before our eyes real ? “How would you know the difference between the dream… and the real world ?”
II. Question about Knowledge
How do we determine the reliability of information and sources found on the web? What effect does the web have on “authority or expert”-based knowledge?
Well, if we take it literally, nothing is true for sure… But we won’t get anywhere if we are skeptical about everything, will we ? So technically, a pretty safe way to know if a web site is trustworthy, is to check if the url ends by .com or .org. If it doesn’t, you probably have to trust your instinct a little bit. If it’s looks like a “sketchy” personal blog, then you wouldn’t base your research on it. But what is really an expert on the web ? Since it is anonymous, the definition of expertise ought to be slightly different. There is no way to check if the author earns a master degree, but maybe he is very passionate and knowledgeable about the subject anyway. Here is a great example of Madeline applying the CRAAP test ! And also, if you’re interested about more, check the Encyclopedia part of the article, just a few paragraphs away…
IV. Video commentaries
- Thinking :
When I think of thinking – haha, thinking of thinking – I think of change. Is it good ? Is it bad ? Without getting political, change is everywhere. From birth to death, we change, we evolve, it is natural. Why, then, be afraid of it ? A good thing to question the use of the Internet and especially Google, but not a good thing to be scared of getting in a phase where we probably won’t step back and stop living with technology. Not right away, anyway. No one can tell for sure what is going to happen in the future, and I know, I too felt like once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski. It’s OK not to always feel safe or comfortable with this open window to the world… But, to use an analogy that might seem a little far away from the subject, Europe in the early Middle Ages was questioning whether women had a soul. How absurd, isn’t it ? Nevertheless, as the human minds have evolved, no one – or very few – today would allow themselves to believe that. Evolution. Change. Live with it and live within it., and it will all work out in the end, I want to believe.
PS : I don’t mean by that to stop asking questions ! Just to stop worrying about the answers you get.
Yes, sure it is =)
en·cy·clo·pe·di·a : comprehensive reference work containing articles on a wide range of subjects or on numerous aspects of a particular field, usually arranged alphabetically. Since the creation of the encyclopedia, by Diderot and D’Alembert, in the middle of the Enlightenment period, knowledge has become a tool for the majority and was the first big step in democratizing it. Wikipedia was another quite recent step. But is Wikipedia really a masterpiece of human creative genius ? Hum… Let’s not push it too far. I am not questioning the fact that it is a useful invention, but we have to admit it, it has pretty obvious limitations. One being that the authors are anonymous. True, that the information is still verified and goes through editorial judgement… But again, edited by who ? Who knows… Personally, I have always felt more confident with the information in books, that I see as more physical and concrete. Put in a nutshell, it seems to me that the Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment Era is a key moment for Humanity, whereas Wikipedia is where I go in case I forget Beethoven’s date of birth (which could be wrong, we don’t know). The goal of an Encyclopédie is to assemble all the knowledge scattered on the surface of the earth, to demonstrate the general system to the people with whom we live, & to transmit it to the people who will come after us, so that the works of centuries past is not useless to the centuries which follow, that our descendants, by becoming more learned, may become more virtuous & happier, & that we do not die without having merited being part of the human race, is how Diderot describes his work ; Wikipedia is important is how Jimmy Wales does. Difference in conviction, don’t you think ?
- Libraries :
We can’t talk about libraries in the future without talking about digitalizing books, of course. And about that, even though I have my own opinion (nostalgic as I am, I think that the feeling of opening a book will always be above turning on a kindle ), digitalization is the way to go. And so is the creation of a technology based library. The conservative apprehensions about old-fashion libraries taken apart, what really makes a library a library is the spirit of it : a place where you can find free, democratized knowledge, where you can discover and share and feel safe. But beside that… The best compromise would probably be a contemporary, cozy media room, with other people around us… And the crème de la crème, would be to be able to access all the books in the world in all the languages of the world. It doesn’t seem impossible, knowing how fast technology evolves.
V. Personal Vlog