Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

data is not knowledge

no rest for the weary.

let's rewind back to june. i was complaining that i didn't have enough work, and now i can't stop working. i've essentially been on tour since july, with very few breaks in between. i guess we're all hypocrites, right?

i don't have much to talk about at the moment. we go through phases, don't we? we constantly absorb all kinds of data, which then gets transferred into information, and then that becomes knowledge. if you're lucky, it turns into wisdom. i had a fascinating conversation about this with juilliard composition professor philip lasser. he believes that the iphone, or the internet in general, has ruined that critical process. the terrifying ubiquitousness of a website like wikipedia allows us to import all kinds of data into our digitally wired brains, and most of time it slips into some synaptic cleft without advancing to the "information" stage. as an ambassador of the A.D.D. generation, i agree with this sentiment in some ways. when i want to "learn" about something, i type the search words into google. i peruse the first 3 websites, and then i feel sort of satisfied. the problem is that i can't back it up with any empirical wisdom - it just gets lost in the constant influx of data. my memory is intrinsically selective, and although i'd love to retain information about the minutiae of russian futurism or even the different genera of tree finches, i simply can't do it.

hmmph. unless i read a book on the subject. that's where the argument takes an interesting turn. is it the medium or how we digest it? perhaps other people take away true knowledge from wikipedia summaries, but i find myself getting distracted too easily. i aimlessly click on links within links. for example, i may start with a search on the personal life of james joyce and end up guffawing at the synopsis of pee-wee herman's troubled career!

this is why i've been leaning more towards books this year. they stick to the ribs. here's last month's reading list for all you nerds out there:

magritte by bernard noel
the way of liberation by alan watts
straight man by richard russo

right now i'm reading 20th century harmony by vincent persichetti. oh boy!

and here's my list of listening:

tyondai braxton - central market
bela bartok - string quartet no. 4 in c major
micachu and the shapes - jewellery
skeletons - money
kurt weisman - spiritual sci-fi

that's all for now. if anything crazy happens on this tour, i'll write about it.