Educating Yourself

Has access to the Internet in our pockets altered the etiquette of knowledge?

Ignorance is our baseline state; everything we know we have learned. While we may be born into the world with instincts we must even learn how to control those. A great deal of human invention and technological achievement is about learning. The transmission or collection of information to succeed ignorance is the function of language, of writing, of telescopes, the scientific process, telecommunications, computers, and so on. The faster and more efficiently we communicate the more learning becomes accessible. And the more accessible knowledge is, is it true that our responsibility to educate ourselves has also increased?

It is what we think we know already that often prevents us from learning.
— Claude Bernard

I've found, in particular, that I'm less tolerant of the presentation of hearsay as fact. It is now such a trivial matter to fact check something with a quick internet search. This isn't entirely fair though — which of us spends our time validating beliefs we already hold, confidently, to be true? We require the mental bias that defends our (even mistaken beliefs) in order to simply not be paralysed by indecision and uncertainty. Perhaps then, our developing responsibility is not so much one of self education but an improved willingness to relearn the things we had presumed to be correct.

This means, perhaps, that the internet in your pocket must be less of a weapon in your arsenal deployed for factual victory, and a little more of a tool of investigation for mutual understanding.

Tim Cook is gay and we do need to talk about it.