10/11/2005

Knowledge and Uncertainty: Kevin Kelly's 34 questions

[The author of "Out of Control" apparently] wants to see how many different ways people may have of grounding themselves in their locality... Reading the list made me aware how little I know about my own lived environment... Does it matter? Well, if you live (or lived) in New Orleans, some of KK's questions may now seem rather more important than they did a month ago.

Blogger Richard sez:

.. KK maintains a Help Wanted website, where he asks readers to provide input to his ongoing projects. Previous requests have generated loads of comments.

On September 9th 2005, KK posted 34 new questions. These questions appear to be of a different logical type to his previous questions, and no comments have been posted yet. Perhaps this new collection leaves people baffled. Here are the first [5] questions.

1 Point north Point north
2 Sunset What time is sunset today?
3 Drinking water Trace the water you drink from rainfall to your tap.
4 Sewage When you flush, where do the solids go? What happens to the waste water?
5 Sea level How many feet above sea level are you?
...

Reading the whole list of questions, I found myself paying attention not to the different content of each question, but to the shared characteristics of the list as a whole. What do these questions have in common, what is the possible purpose of asking questions like these?

All of the questions appear to be particular, grounded, local rather than global. So answering the question calls for a different kind of knowledge - know-how rather than know-what.

My hunch is that KK doesn't want an answer like "sunset today is at 6:45". He wants an answer like "I look this up every day in the local paper" or "I watch the behaviour of the birds as dusk approaches." He wants to see how many different ways people may have of grounding themselves in their locality, and perhaps also how many ways they have of failing to ground themselves...

Of course, these are the kind of questions that many people don't know the answers to, wouldn't know how to find out, and would probably say it doesn't really matter anyway. Reading the list made me aware how little I know about my own lived environment...


Does it matter? Well, if you live (or lived) in New Orleans, some of KK's questions may now seem rather more important than they did a month ago.

Knowledge and Uncertainty: Kevin Kelly

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home