Internet Librarian International 2010

Keynote session: There is nothing outside the cow – Robert Rowland Smith

Author of: Breakfast with Socrates

Knowledge – what it means to know things – Socrates and Platos view of that.

Reading from: Dropping ashes on Buddha

Meditation is on beeing extremely present in the moment.

Beeing human is to have an imagination – did not want to give up the ability to think about the past and the future.

Lapsed Buddhist:-)

Socrates and Plato – the imperfect world and the “more real” platonic ideals

What you know is true? Before Copernicus everybody knew the earth was the centre of the universe. You can know something and be wrong.

Blows to mankind

  • Copernicus – not the centre of universe,
  • Darwin – not gods special creature
  • Freud – We do nok know ourselves.

Plato – Everything we know is corrupt – the real exists on a higher plane

Cloud technology – separation of the lasting world (the cloud) and the corruped working world (on your machine) 🙂

Real world vs. ideal world

We are enslaved to higher ideals – religion, philosophy etc. – Nietsche

The notion of the lie – Why lying is useful and a source of knowledge

When you try to describe the world – categorize – taxonomy – you must make distorted desiscions

Categorize – you gain something and you loose something

Gain in understanding – loose in accuracy

The Noble Lie – Plato – Framing is a lie – taxonomy is a lie – but it is noble because it is helpful. Gives a way of relating to the world, society, people etc.

The Noblest Lie of all – The war on terrorr – A distortion of the complexity of the state of the world after 911. Huge simplification and generalization –  useful to make sense of the world for international society (Not an moral approval!)

Helped de-fragment society – Unified illution

Knowledge happens as a distortion of the truth that is useful

Distorted knowledge may be very useful.

911 story – builds on the Biggest Noble Lie of the all – the Cold War.

Noble Lie – helps people understand

Poles – left and right – makes it easier to position yourself

Makes it easier to selforganize

Everything we know is based on where we are – Geography of knowledge

Knowledge effect – distorting – but useful

Horizontal relationship with knowledge – influenced by other people

We think in terms of the group we belong to – even ad-hoc groups (on bus etc.)

Very hard to be in a system without taking on the beliefs of the group – helps us make sense of the world –

Stop making sense

First we make it simple – then we make it complex again.

Sensemaking – about exluding as much as including.

Realtivism – one of the signs of modernity

Collections of subjectivity – working self-knowledge in a group – ethics, beauty, – Communities of knowledge, ethics, etc.

We will never get to a universal understanding of something

Wittgenstein! Overlapping frames of reference = working language (example in-jokes) (Best explanation of Wittgenstein I have heard!)

Madness – where  frames does not overlap with anybody elses

Communities of knowledge – indistinguable with cults

We have a responsibility to find ways to behave

Question from the room: How can we as info professionals change distorted views of what we do in society.

Answer – directing people towards knowledge/information – broaden horizon – Not  – this is the information, but – this is another field of thinking – unexpected info – broadning knowledge field – more random

Facillitate Chaos

Can we be innocent anymore? NO! We are inside – not neutral bystanders

Declare agenda.

Brands – simplification – breeds lazyness – few people surf outside well knows websites

Lazy internet users




I'm a norwegian librarian.

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October 2010
The Librarian

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