I try to write on a variety of topics, but I frequently return to questions of information and knowledge. (Wisdom is a whole other topic.)
We live in a world of information. Titles, fragments, snippets. Allegedly, we have entered a period of post-truth: a time when we get worked up over a headline, picture or soundbite, and can’t be bothered to go any further.
Yes. There is not much doubt of this.
And, if you spend any time at all in the humanities, you’ll discover that someone smarter than you or I had this thought long ago.
from Choruses from The Rock
T.S. Eliot (1936)
The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
O perpetual revolution of configured stars,
O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to GOD.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from GOD and nearer to the Dust.
Take an hour today. Read something worthy of human intelligence. Information is over-rated. Honest.
You can read the rest of the poem here. Then go for a walk. Then consider rereading the Choruses.