“Information alone is strength without coordination. We become a danger mostly to ourselves when we have it. Understanding is the ability to coordinate that raw information in meaningful ways. Understanding creates a certain enthusiasm. We can direct our knowledge toward potentially useful ends–but we may also be a danger to others. Wisdom, however, is knowing how, when and why we use our understanding; wisdom is settling into our understanding without being too enamored by it.
The internet encourages only the knowledge-gathering stage without considering coordination or meaningful connections. Despite Google and Wikipedia’s best efforts, understanding is not born of the answers algorithms provide–answers and understanding are not the same thing. Some will sift through the answers and information, seek to coordinate it, and emerge with understanding–but this is still not the same as wisdom.
Unfortunately, the Information Age does little to encourage the development of wisdom. This requires time, experience, contemplation, patience, suffering and even stillness to obtain. But the churning sea of information never settles long enough to allow for the emergence of wisdom. We are left instead with “the conceit of wisdom rather than real wisdom” and become a burden to society rathe than a boon.
If we are not alert, the Information Age may stunt our growth and create a permanent puberty of the mind.
— Shane Hipps, Flickering Pixels
Shane, you swished the three on this one, buddy. To anyone out there who doesn’t buy and read this book, I feel sorry for you. 🙂