The Instant Expert

While we accumulate Knowledge by learning from others, how do we put on Wisdom?

We read.

Oh, that sounds smart, we say. 





Now we are smart like them! 

They read. Oh, he knows so many things, they say! He has read everything! He has chosen the best for us to see! And then Copy/Paste/Recommend/Distribute.

From an initial nugget of clever phrasing and thought (lost under the layers of copy-pasting) suddenly we take on the mantle of being Wise. Even the idea for this post is not mine – I did not copy-paste, but I am paraphrasing and recasting (fancy words for the same act).

There was a time when it was not so easy to do this. Copying was an act of long-hand and associated with monks in a cold scriptorium at a mountain monastery. The way to learn was to absorb, to remember, to associate with your own thoughts and knowledge. The storage process was not neat nor did it have a readily accessible little tree or FAT and NTFS file system.

This process, I think, is where real ideas are born. 

And part of the birth of ideas is in the sheer messiness of the act of learning. Often we retain some of the information. More often we misremember information. The sharp edges of Fact blur as their detail gets filled in with our own knowledge. And then this mess becomes associated with another mess of ideas already held. The stray ends sometimes touch. 

And suddenly you have invented Teflon!

When we take our keyboard scissors to passages and articles (or worse still, just hyperlinks) we are not processing the knowledge yet. It is only after reading carefully and understanding that we internalize the knowledge and add it to the mess. 

The mind of the reader contains millions of bits of useless information – things that will never come up at a business meeting or in dinner conversation. Information that just sits there as part of some mess or another. But ONE DAY, the fact that elephants cannot jump and the average length of shoe strings may just come together through a poem by Paul Eluard and presto: a Big Idea is born!

People say the brain is the most powerful computer in the world. But I would not like it on my desktop. Too messy.

October 2023

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