On the Wikipedia website (which i use frequently), a personal appeal for donation is being made by the founder, Jimmy Wales. I don’t blame him, as there are so many ‘freebie junkies’ out there who are experts at leeching, thinking free resources are a right, and not a priviledge. C’mon people, for a website that makes available a wealth of sometimes-reliable information, it sure saves you a lot of fuel, toll and parking money if you wanted to do the same kind of research at the library.
You could, I’m sure we could sacrifice that Starbucks coffee once this month and send that money over to Mr Jimmy’s foundation.
However, that really isn’t the point of this post.
This is the banner over at the Donation page.
I think the prospect sounds great. In such a world espoused by Mr. Jimmy, we would have at our fingertips everything everyone everywhere ever-could ever-want to know. I know I could use a bit of that.
But as fumbled around the donation page, those words played on in my mind, I had some thoughts, and I share them here:
- Knowing a little about everything can be dangerous
How many of us have met that mr-know-it-all who knows a little about something and walk around thinking they know all there is to know about it. Annoying, isn’t it? In an age where people are being seasoned into being those who can’t read through long articles anymore, we’re going to be faced with more annoying people.
- How reliable is this sum of all human knowledge?
Yes, in the open-source world we have seen how ‘too many cooks spoil the soup’, the same goes for knowledge. For every little unit of reliable truth, there are much more half-truths and falsehoods that mask it. Granted, the Wiki team works hard at keeping these effects down, but it isn’t easy, and policing knowledge is not an approach that is very scalable. Take the anti-virus for an example, we have to keep updating our ‘black-list’ of bad apps and keep them out. The race is on to keep looking for the baddies, and since antivirus companies are not out of business yet, its obvious this approach is an everlasting battle.
It will be the same for the wiki team (and the international community), we will spend just as much time wondering if information is reliable, as actually using it.
Or are we going to be happy to settle for unreliable facts in our quest for knowledge (I know postmodernists will).
- Do I need all human knowledge and do I want to know?
In the movie ‘Fifth Element’, LeeLoo was supposed to be the last element needed (love) to prevent the destruction of the world. But as she watched through the annals of history in lightning speed (you got to watch the movie to know what I mean), she found it so hard to love anymore. Yes, mankind’s track record of running this earth has not been something to shout about.
- What is the purpose of all human knowledge?
“…for we all have knowledge: knowledge puffs up…”(1 Cor 8:1)
History has shown us how knowledge without the fear of God only leads to pride and self-exaltation. Man in his wisdom has not found God, but has exalted himself in pride against God.
“For since, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom has not known God, God has been pleased by the foolishness of the preaching to save those that believe.” (I Corinthians 1:21)
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; for it is written, He who takes the wise in their craftiness. (I Corinthians 3:19)
- All knowledge is in God
“to the end that their hearts may be encouraged, being united together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the full knowledge of the mystery of God; in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.” (Col 2:2,3)
Boy am I glad I know God.