Monday, May 07, 2007

Man in a Box

I was standing in the center of a large, dark box. I thought the sides were close, but I couldn't see them. It was just a feeling. I knew I was standing in the center and wanted to find the sides. I started to explore, but for every step I took the walls moved away from me as quickly as I walked. This scared me, but when I moved back towards where I started, the walls didn't shrink again. Just by exploring I had made my box larger. I had a tough decision to make. I was either going to be bored and stuck in a small box, or I could try to explore and make the box grow.

I made this up as an analogy to how we collectively approach science. The problem is that there are many of us, and those of us that go exploring grow the box for everybody. If you are afraid of infinity the last thing you want is the people around you constantly reducing your importance.

We (the people I like and am like) are used to thinking of knowledge as a shared resource that benefits everyone. From another perspective (albeit one that makes me want to get into a barfight) ignorance is also a shared resource, and one that cannot be regained once lost.


Random Magus said...

Hey Adam. I guess people don't like to explore because they don't want to find out anything that will dispel beliefs that shelter them. Weirdly enough there are people who feel so comfortable in their box that they will destroy anything that they perceive as weakening the security of their box.
Like you said ignorance is just as much a shared resource and to some people ignorance is indeed bliss..
I guess it takes all kinds to make up the world.

P.S. Your 'Things that stand out' post was tagged by me for favorite post of 2007, given your hatred of joiners and all, you'll probably ignore the Meme but I think its a good way for me to share something that moved me with others...

cancer disguised said...

Its posts like this one that keep me coming back to read your blog all the time, I'm constantly checking for new posts! Mostly because I can’t figure out those feed things, I get the concept, but it’s the making it work that’s the problem. I really do need my very own computer geek. Anyway, back to you! I come back to read over and over again because you're sometimes funny, but always clever. You make me think. With cyberspace full of so many crappy blogs on such unimportant things like the debate of “coke vs. pepsi” (seriously who doesn’t know its coke?) it’s nice to kick back and read yours and ponder the questions you propose.