Subjectivism, relativism, recycling knowledge and a society of people living in their heads – I’m not sure I want that!

The course, so far has challenged my notion and understanding of knowledge. How knowledge is transferred and what this means for the future.   Similarly, it has challenged my in terms of ownership, experts and how one navigates this space. It seems that knowledge as we know it is changing. David Weinberger‘s new book “Too Big To Know” says that the future of knowledge is unknown.   Institutions as we have known them are falling apart.

I personally, wonder what this means with the rise of subjectivism, where knowledge is generated in the mind with no real concrete reference to reality.   With the rise of networks and the recycling of knowledge does this mean that the world becomes little more our imagination? Will this mean that in the future “anything goes”, and lets desires, whims, and emotions run rampant?

For me as a student this has been the most challenging.   In thinking about knowledge and identity especially in a world such as Second Life – what will the effect on society?  Will we end up with a society of crazy people?

Here is a quote from, Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human By Tom Boellstorff 

A man spends his day as a tiny chipmunk, elf or voluptuous woman.   Another lives as a child and two other persons agree to be his virtual parents.  Two”real-life” sisters living hundreds of miles apart meet every day to play games together or shop for new shoes for their avatars.   The person making their shows has quit their “real”-life job because he is making over five-thousand US dollars a month from the sale of virtual clothing…

As I picked up from Ethan Zuckerman’s blog on David Weinberger: Too Big To Know

‘We tend to assume that knowledge gives us an accurate picture of the world, built up bit by bit, fact by fact. In acquiring knowledge, we nail down each piece with certainty. And we see knowledge as a product of filtering and winnowing – we move from perception to true perception, from a mob of opinion to true belief. Knowledge is about finding gold within the flux.’

For me this is kind of unsettling.  It kind of reminds me of  H. G. Wells‘s 1895 novel The Time Machine where the Eloi, depicted as identical to modern humans, but all small and physically attractive, blond and blue-eyed. They are a placid and docile race, called “human vegetables” by the Time Traveller. They lack curiosity and appear devoid of human emotion. They have historical records, but have allowed them to become dust.  

Is this going to be reality?   Will we have a society of people lost in their own virtual worlds, devoid of humanity?


About Paul Size

Currently studying a Masters in Learning and Development at the University of Southern Queensland.
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One Response to Subjectivism, relativism, recycling knowledge and a society of people living in their heads – I’m not sure I want that!

  1. Pingback: Future Learning Musings

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