Where is this going?
This is an ongoing article for the ever-changing purpose of my posts.
If you’ve had a topic of some sort that you are passionate about, I believe you’ve had those moments. You found a piece of information from a book and it suddenly clicks in your brain with another piece of information from say, a speech you heard last week. And you go WOW!
When the dots connect, knowledge is discovered.
The love for wisdom
Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is the first self-development book I fell in love with. It illuminates the path of independence, pushes for interdependence, and emphasizes personal growth.
One day, I revisited the foreword and was struck by a profound statement made by Jim Collins:
“Covey created a ‘user interface’ organized into a coherent conceptual framework, made highly accessible by Covey’s strong writing.”
When Apple and Microsoft reinvented the user interface for computers, they make the computational power within laymen’s reach, unleashing an era of precedented technology progression.
User interface essentially has one purpose, making all available functions accessible for the users in a limited real estate. Yes, The Seven Habits has a clear structure of insight and actionable advice. But that’s about all the available functions and it is still a book, not too different from Maya glyphs on a temple wall, 250 BC. As a person who grew up with computers, I certainly expect more. I can’t help but wonder, in the age of information explosion…
What will the ultimate interface to wisdom look like?
The formation of wisdom
Then I discover this diagram drawn by Gapingvoid, which shows the making of wisdom from pure data, elegantly.
Here is my take on each phase:
1. Data is meaningless as a single point
2. Information is categorized data
3. Knowledge is information plus relational connections
4. Insight is a useful set of knowledge for a particular problem
5. Wisdom is a coherent framework of insights that can solve a bunch of problems
Imagine you encounter a problem, and your brain tries to extract all the knowledge there is in your database to find the best way to look at and deal with this problem. If you prevail, you’ve found insight. If not, you are stuck and need some help. One of your best bets is to Google.
The problem is, Google only shows immediately relevant results. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great tool. But most of the time, what I get is categorized information and unsorted knowledge. When I get lucky, I find insights in articles, audio, or video. I am gracious for them but eager to learn more. Yet the train of thought usually stops there because I am overwhelmed by more irrelevant information and knowledge that I need to plow through to find another golden nugget.
Fortunately, When people do this enough, they developed a system of insights you may call wisdom. It is a knowledge web pull of nodes that connect and interlock. This may eventually be shared in the form of books, seminars, or lectures.
For a person who wants to find insight from this particular recorded wisdom, good luck, you need to read the whole thing or at least skim through it. If you’ve gone through many of them and could recall and leverage those insights to your advantage, I would say you are resourceful. However, such resourcefulness comes from years of knowledge absorption and a great deal of reflection.
Making wisdom accessible
The connection between pieces of insight is rare and undervalued in the digital age, better representation and user interface will accelerate discussion and enable a broader participation.
We have plenty of insights but lack a unified interface for it. In short, this effort is to make wisdom accessible, starting by sorting insights and building a brand new interface.
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