It was back to the beginning of the 21th century when I first got touched onto the internet. I remember that when I sent my first E-mail using a webmail client, I forgot press “save” just before I sent it. Then the web page carried out a jagged error message, and all of my email’s content were lost! That was in the dial-up connection days of course. But at least you could get online, surf on the web and the most fun: download software(for some of us today, it still is)!
Then, came with the broadband. Everything is so faster ever since as you would feel you were in a bloody hell if you went back to using a dial-up. Of course, the power of the web does not just come from the bandwidth people have to plug into the internet, it also comes from Firefox(Web Browser), Gmail(E-mail), CMS(Web Application), wordpress(Weblog), e-Commecial, Google(Search Engine), BitTorrent(P2P)…or anything else you can think of that make the world wide web what it is today. You can learn with it, entertain with it and even make living with it. In short, once people gain access to it and grasp some simple skills, they can’t live without it.
However, as the Information Age unfolding itself, comes with the “Information Overload”. There are simply too many things on the web, they are so diverse so that you sometimes can’t make any sense of them when you can not figure out a whole picture of the information you’ve got. Of course, diversity of information comes from diversity of people. We live in a very interesting era, in which, we have old people who came from the previous Cold-War system; and we have young people who are trying everything just want to catch up the new ever-changing world; and we have children who will live in a world that we are building today. The real world are also unequally developed: while I am listening John Mayer’s “if you trust the television, what you get is what you got; cause they own the information, oh~, they can bend it all they want”; millions, if not billions, of my Chinese folks still just want to watch television every day and every night. So, it is not just to us, the young people who have accepted necessary education and have the ability to learn from the world, but also to everyone(I believe at least to some extent), that many world’s information don’t make any sense. I don’t know you, but to me, live in the world with so many unknown, it is the worst living experience because it will feel so uncertainty, so unsafe!
“Put it together”, may has become the proverb that you are saying to yourself in these days. But how you can put the pieces together without a coherent understanding of them? How do you organize the information, that is, in a way that yourself feel comfortable, certain and hopeful? I think this is why Google is so “great” when they say they want to “Organize World’s Information”, even though I wonder what they can do on the personal level because sorting out what my brain knows is entirely up to myself.
It is not an easy task. It reminded me of an article written by Friedrch Von Hayek, a Nobel Prize Winners on Economics, called The Specialization’s Dilemma. In human society, especially in our educational system, specialization is what we are doing. We have all kinds of problems need all kinds of people to solve them, we need all kinds of engineers, experts to contribute their expertise on their specialized area. Specialization is critical for a well established society. However, a well-ordered, healthy, good(or whatever you call it) society also needs its members who are not just know one or two specialized fields. Of course, I can understand what Hayek meant( because to economist this is especially true ) — if economists were all just know their economics, and didn’t know anything about history, humanity, law and morals or ethics, then they would all were in hell! Think about the history, how many times this statement is true? Scientists don’t know what they are doing. Well, nuclear weapons are the cases, for sure. Image what you actually encounter everyday on the web: technology, economy, politic; buying, selling, advertising; music, movies, books; and, here is the best part, the people whom you probably will never meet with in your life time off-line! I think you’ll pretty much agree with me that, nowadays, even get entertainment, you must have your knowledge various and many! Don’t think so? Well, how about to ask anyone among your friends how to convert your DVD movies to DIVX files, so that you can watch them on your PC or mobile phones?
We realize that in order to have our playing-the-pieces life make sense, we need have at least a basic schema about the world we are in. The basic schema, I call it is a set of “common senses”. Through these common senses, we can explain those big, buzz words. We can only understand things through our plain, day-to-day used languages. And more important, we also need to explain those theories based on these languages, so that we can further understand those complex systems. This is what this weblog is trying to do. Through this approach, I wish I can make some concepts easily understood, some relationships logically connected, and make ideas, technologies, tools more useful and meaningful.