Thinking out loud

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Innovation or Consolidation

It has been very widely accepted that the last century or two have been times of tremendous growth of knowledge and ideas. What was once natural philosophy is now a thousand headed hydra called science. Men who were once natural philosophers are now computer scientists or botanists or cosmologists. There is so much knowledge now, they say, that one man can never hope to understand but a tiny fraction. He must decide whether he wishes to study urban waste management or political systems of the post-modern era. He cannot do both. Yet the irony, to my mind, is that this precisely is the recipe for stagnation of our understanding. We, as a race, have spewed out ideas and generated knowledge at a prodigal pace and yet we have no clue about how to organise it, consolidate it. Rather, we go about shaking our heads saying "Oh! No man can hope to understand this. " It is as if we, who relentlessly fought our way through the hidden pathways of nature, to understand her, have laid down our weapons in the face of our own creation - knowledge. Our only answer to this problem is a ghost of a real solution - collecting as many books and pictures and sounds in one place as we can. To that effect, we created the Library of Congress or the Internet Archive. We have taken the huge mass of ill-digested ideas in the form of cryptic and often confusing articles and books and put them into a hierarchy of subjects, which apparently are not supposed to have any bearing on one another; atleast none is suggested by the notion of a "hierarchy". And we have hardly done a satisfactory job at that.

Does nobody feel that this is inadequate. Does nobody feel that we would do well to atleast consolidate the ideas and knowledge we have generated so far. The way our society works today, it would seem that only those who create - whether ideas or goods - are the ones who are appreciated. Little, or atleast significantly less, value is given to him who seeks to unify and to clarify. The fact that there are hardly any "awards for clarification" as compared to "awards for innovation", is evidence enough. Is there no place in society for a person who only desires to clarify old ideas, to cut through the riff-raff and to bring forth a succint understanding of all that we, as a race, know? Perhaps I'm on the wrong planet!


  • Oh we can sit and discuss on this for hours altogether.

    By Blogger Pranav, at 5:26 AM  

  • You mean about the innovation vs. consolidation issue or about whether I'm on the wrong planet?

    By Blogger Parijat, at 7:44 AM  

  • lol :))

    Definitely the wrong planet.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:00 AM  

  • interesting thoughts...

    and an immensly interesting project...just to sit and learn and consolidate knowledge...

    unfortunately.....iss kaam ke paise nahi hain.....if there were, i would not be surprised if hundreds of people would take it up...

    By Blogger kaushik, at 11:30 AM  

  • parijat this is in reference to your webaroo post i got a offer to work as product manager for them now i am going to refuse for personal reasons but i like what they are doing i think any idea by itself is not the end but a begining google didnt know they would use adwords and till then it was a sucky business model ryt

    also abt the interativity of net to a great extent evn google limits your interactvity google keeps cache of pages it knows exist and there are a billion pages it doesnt know exist so does webaroo as far as storage is concerned like you urself mentioned blu rays will be in your cell phones and cell phones with diffrent packs will be talking to each other like a adhoc network imagine network of cell phones with scores of information wldnt it be like a real mobile internet?

    wait till it gets acquired by google by the way im spending my tuesdays and thursdays in kresit for the next 2 months wanna meet up?

    yahoo id:the_rarest_one

    By Anonymous Aditya, at 3:26 AM  

  • obsessive about information consolidation....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:43 AM  

  • Interesting post Pari :-) I have replied to it with a blog! :D

    By Blogger Ankur Kulkarni, at 12:41 PM  

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