In the Information Age, the first step to sanity is FILTERING. Filter the information: extract for knowledge. Filter first for substance. Filter second for significance. These filters protect against advertising. Filter third for reliability. This filter protects against politicians.
― Marc Stiegler, David’s Sling
One of the biggest challenges we do face in every part of our life, business, social, or education is to use and collect trusted knowledge. It is not a new thing that I am revealing, yet I find that our consumption of “Junk Knowledge” is making us unhealthy to a limit we might suffer from a unstoppable bulimia wich will lead us soon or later to the intellectual obesity!
News Networks, specialized magazines, newsletters, and experts provide information that most people may take as Knowledge. It is unfortunate to notice that we do not take all the necessary measures and enough time to ensure we are collecting real knowledge and not information and on the second hand we can make sure such is considered trusted knowledge!
Adding references to a paper does not entitle the content to be validated, especially when the reference is not clear and does not state who, where when in addition to cross-validated references… This will seem tedious and very complicated for many (that includes me too).
A funny reflex I have developed through the past years working with knowledge, specialists and trusted sources was to implement a mental alert that became with time a “natural” thing in me. When a text starts with “It looks that…” or “It appears that…” My first reaction is to ask the author mentally “Where are you going with that?”
I know there is some subjectivity behaving like this, yet it helped me avoiding major embarrassment when I was tempted to use references with minimal validation.
Of course until proven wrong governmental sources can be considered as trusted universities, research centers, and more of the kind. Yet to me trusted means a concept of a simpler manner (maybe harder to find too). As humans we identify ourselves to other peers who experiment similar experiences in their lives, whether it is at work, on an industrial site, social, family or public. We also tend to be focus about what people live and how they solved a certain issue that speaks to us. Such sharing are among the most trusted sources besides what we learn or hear is no information but knowledge: the how I did it thing! Or what did I learn for a better result?
People like to learn from their peers. I spent many years in creating adult educational program, I have to admit the best sources of knowledge were those people (people from the industry) who were feeding the true knowledge at the core going beyond all user guides, manuals, and sometimes experts.
It will never be said enough that Knowledge is a matter of people talking to people, sharing their past experiences. Knowledge built on theoretical thinking is incomplete, therefore not trusted, if it is not based on experiments and sharing with other peers.
Stating something as Knowledge is also a matter of responsibility, in the same manner that we do have responsivities and obligations towards our social environment. One needs to understand and feel accountable for every piece of knowledge he or she delivers to others, else it may induce the people into dramatic disappointments and critical misjudgments.
There is no need to become experts to provide and share trusted knowledge, we are more knowledgeable than we think!
Until our next chat,
Michel – June 22, 2015
The picture is a courtesy from the site Active Rain