I was part of a wonderful group yesterday discussing the concepts of being / & unknowing. The idea of uncertainty, is it positive, negative? is it an active or passive state?
There was a lot shared in the room, but I do want to touch on one moment, the idea that we’re all thinking slow.
Just by the sheer need to adapt.
Our world mostly works. When you’re leaving the airplane, don’t think, follow: good design nudges you all the way to the taxi. The architect Christopher Alexander built a life’s work on showing how something as simple as the design of a home’s window seat has, over centuries, adjusted to a delicate balance of physical, psychological, and social needs. In equilibrium, good systems get you by on instinct. Like the hiker who brought a can of espresso beans, however, many of us are now noticing how much of day-to-day mind-life has been cooked, not left raw. By choice, or by necessity, we’re forced to think about things we’ve usually left to the environment. As I asked a friend who teaches philosophy: have you ever done this much thinking before?
— Simon DeDeo
As a reminder about this inquiry:
Can mediums (defined as language + artifact + system) make us more like ourselves or more like everyone else?
This is a point on the system aspect, because knowledge lives within systems. Cortada’s scale of data, information, knowledge and wisdom is useful here. I will colloquially explain those as:
- Data: dumb numbers
- Information: relational
- Knowledge: in context
- Wisdom: inference
Thinking about the world we live in today, the one we lived in yesterday and the one we’re speculating might come our way in the future – I ask us to consider: are we looking for complete wisdom?
Let’s say we wake up in a year and see all of the numbers (data), stats (information) and reports (knowledge). Will we be any the wiser?
In other words: Is epistemology open–ended?
Active unknowingness is walking in the dark without stubbing your toe. Complete–wisdom is the idea that with enough time that room could be fully mapped out. The fallacy is that there is no back wall. And in effect: It is not about the room itself. Facts are relational (information) and situated (knowledge) – & taxonomies (inference/wisdom) are infinite.
Thank you for reading.