Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
-- T. S. Elliot
We uncouple technologies, such as computing and road building, from our deepest human values. The questions asked by T. S. Elliot become irrelevant as we refuse to acknowledge the human context.
Students at universities become mainly focused on "practical knowledge" that leads to high paid jobs. The values by which we guide our technological development and application become afterthoughts. We must wonder if technology now controls human life more than humans control technology.
Information technology is valued above wisdom. There is no "wisdom technology". It's easier to understand information technology then wisdom. A high school student can quickly grasp computer programming, but it takes almost an entire lifetime to mature to wisdom. People who think of themselves as wise because they have read some books are dangerous. Wisdom is lived, not mastered as procedures and facts that can be scored on an exam sheet.
Data and information are the "atomic" components of knowledge. These components don't make a lot of sense by themselves. Water is composed of molecules, which are in turn composed of atoms of hydrogen and oxygen. We could say that molecules are like information and atoms (a level further down) are like data. But such an understanding does not allow us to understand the "wetness" of water. Wetness is an emergent phenomenon that is experienced by sentient human beings. When we look at a friend, we just don't see atoms and molecules, we see a friend.
Meaning is the real food of human life. Our real task is to arrange education, family, society, moral training, technology and economic arrangements in way that allows meaningful human life to unfold for as many people as possible. Clearly, we have remarkable technologies. But do we have enough meaning?
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
We take jet planes to get somewhere fast, while taking hours to get in and out of airports for a one hour flight. Booking passage, packing, deciding what to take and not take, freeway travel, airport security, weather problems, and the unexpected mechanical problems -- a one hour flight becomes a half-day event. This is "running like snails." Rage is a symptom of running like snails. You see it with commuters on trains and freeways; and, on the internet and in the office.
Freeways ought to move quickly -- everyone gets on them during "rush hour". "Rush hour" could be renamed "running like snails" hour. Fast automotive technology meets congested overcrowded freeways. Road rage flares on freeways as drivers try to move faster. Every year 40,000 people die because of the need to “get there on time”.
Companies now organize around information efficiency for maximum profit. For instance, eliminating contact with "ineffectual" and “expensive” humans, instead providing web pages and interactive voice activated telephone services. Customer satisfaction problems are more difficult to resolve nowadays. No one can hear you scream in cyberspace! Fast internet service does not make us more productive, rather it gives us more distractions along the information superhighway.
Someday we will all learn to just walk like lightening.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
After many considerations, it's clear modern technological life has three fundamental categories: time, money, and love. Insights can be gained by looking at the weight that is applied to these categories in different life circumstances.
We can’t separate time, money, and love. In moments of insight, meditation, and spontaneous grace: it becomes clear that time, money, and love are just time-money-love; like space and time in physics are now fused into space-time.
Ask ourselves the question how does time-money-love play itself out in our lives? More money, less time? More time, more love? Is more money, less love? Yes, no, maybe? Look deeply into this.