David Weinberger on why knowing is more important than knowledge

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a small business fable titled, "How to save the world from Knowledge". It was interesting to see the responses it triggered. Among many other reasons behind writing this fable, one such was David Weinberger's fascinating book on the evolution of knowledge in the Internet Age, Too Big to Know. I enjoyed reading his exposition on how network remade knowledge in its own image.

I've always admired David Weinberger's works ever since I read the classic The Cluetrain Manifesto. So when I wrote an email to David Weinberger with a link to my blog post, I was extremely delighted to hear from him. Here is his response via email to my post, published with due permission.
I enjoyed your post. I think a bit differently about this, although we may be down the same path. I have an article that I haven't posted yet that wonders if we would have invented the concept of knowledge if we had started with the Net instead of with writing on physical things like parchment and paper. Even so, that wouldn't leave us with knowing as pure process and interaction. I'm non-mystical enough to value socially-available and quasi-permanent recordings of our ideas and interactions; I want your made-up guru to blog or otherwise share his wisdom with more than one person at a time. (At least he tweets!).
I also am not as negative about reading and writing as your mystic is. Or perhaps I'm as negative but think that this reflects a limitation of the human mind that we simply cannot overcome and thus should embrace. The world is too big to know, as I think I may have once said. Reading and writing are important strategies for dealing with this. They are inherently limited and they are by no means the only strategies. And it's hugely important (in my view) to recognize their limitations. But also to recognize their uses and their value.

Anyway, it's good to read a post that's provocative in the helpful way, as opposed to so many other provocations all around us.


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