When is knowledge enough to be useful or enough to be dangerous?
I have been asking myself that more and more these days. As I flick through the RSS feeds for the umpteenth time that day seeing the same ‘news’ on multiple feeds, and I listen to Sky News doing their ‘all the news in 15 minutes every 15 minutes’ bit for the 6th time in a row I think I know what is going on. I have heard it so many times, read the headlines until I can quote them backwards and standing on my head (while drinking a glass of wine on a good day!!).
I MUST know what is happening, after all I am ‘modern tech guy’ surrounded by information. I wake up in the morning and flick through my RSS feeds on the iPhone while ‘listening’ to Sky News. I sit at the Mac for hours on end with tweets flying in left, right and centre, RSS updates every 10 minutes, multiple IM chats open telling me ‘wow, heh, awesome’ about some breaking news story or other, I don’t even ‘waste’ time commuting. If anybody knows what is going on then it must be me right?
So why is it that when anyone asks me a specific question about a news item I look at them like a rabbit caught in the headlights? Sure I know what they are saying ……. remember I have seen the headlines. I probably even know what someone else has said about it, but what do I think about it?
Next question please!!!!!
When was the last time I sat down and really discussed a subject of substance with a group of people? You know the late night/early morning intense discussions at college when we really did know what was going on?
Errr ……. next question please!
OK an easier one then. When was the last time that I actually followed up on a news item? You know something caught my eye one day and didn’t become tomorrows ‘digital fish and chip paper’ the next? When I followed a subject through to completion.
Errr …….. yep you know by now, next question please!!!
In fact no, no more questions. I can’t answer them I need to go and read something and understand it, not assume that I know what is going on because I have convinced myself that somehow or other I have magically absorbed it through some saturation method or other.
I doubt very much that I am alone on this either, based on the discussions and conversations I have with people where it becomes apparent that the new definition of a debate is to repeat sound bites and third party opinions rather than personally constructed view points.
So what is the answer? How do I know, I flunked every question so far so how do you expect me to have the answer to this one!!!