the iCite net > news / blog > a permalink

news and thoughts on and around the development of the iCite net
by Jay Fienberg

Hack your worldview

posted: Nov 9, 2003 3:48:14 PM

I just read The Guardian article, Smash the Windows: To be truly free in the 21st century, we have to ignore the flashy graphics and really get inside our computers, by Dylan Evans. This article talks about literacy in computer languages and the liability of people being dependent on machines but only knowing them through high level interfaces.

This article references The Matrix, and, as it turns out, I saw Matrix Revolutions last night. Not much to say about the movie—if you are going to see it, you are going to see it.

If you saw the last one, you can guess that this new one is more like another opportunity to play with the same characters than another movie that might fundamentally excite you like The Matrix. (That being said, there are some cool ideas and scenes in the new movie.)

After seeing the movie last night, I was thinking that the thing that excited me about the original movie was the theme that the world, as we know it, is something that has layers of "code" that can be hacked into. I think this idea is one that really could be equated with literacy (in the sense of being knowledgeable) in our time.

There was a recent article on Salon, Hackers on Atkins, which David Sifry (who is mentioned in the article) also commented on in his Hack Your Metabolism post. Although the idea of hacking the workings of one's body could be taken in different ways, the thing I think is important is the idea that we should be literate in how our bodies work—and we should hack into the rules ("code") we have been taught about how to care for our bodies.

In general, we live our lives under a lot of rules / constraints that have been in place for a long time before us. And, for the most part, we know the boundaries of the constraints but not how they got there or why we hold them in place. We were taught the boundaries and that we had to obey them, but the not the underlying logic or principles the boundaries were thought to serve. And, in this sense, we could be said to be somewhat illiterate about ourselves and our world.

I recently mentioned a book I am reading, Numbers: The Universal Language, by Dennis Guedj, in the context of talking about data and metadata. And, this book is quite eye opening to me about how our lives are shaped by numbers and by historical (usually ancient) events wherein number systems were adopted.

In reading this book, I am seeing things about my own worldview that are uninspected assumptions, in this case about numbers and data. And, this book, for me, is like a guidebook for hacking into these assumptions.

In general, I think what is exciting about the Internet and the tools we might build for it is that we can use these to hack our worldview—to find the source "code" of the ideas we live by, and expose ourselves and others to all of it.

Of course, that won't necessarily translate into us grokking it all—I think it is safe to say that knowledge isn't always wisdom. But, I think, without literacy, how will we even recognize wisdom when we see it?

permalink | comments {0} · trackbacks {0}

also available as: rss · rss2 · rdf · atom

Comments and Tracbacks

Note: All comments and trackbacks are moderated. Spam is deleted. Other comments are approved as promptly as possible.

Note: Older posts no longer accept new comments or trackbacks.

« prev post
Semantic web systemantics

» next post
When White House robots.txt disallow

blog newsfeeds

brief content:

 XML  ·  RSS  ·  RDF  ·  Atom 

full content:

 XML  ·  RSS  ·  RDF  ·  Atom 

blog archive

jan · feb · mar · apr
may · jun · jul · aug 
sep · oct · nov · dec
jan · feb · mar · apr
may · jun · jul · aug
sep · oct · nov · dec

jan · feb · mar · apr
may · jun · jul · aug
sep · oct · nov · dec

may · jun · jul · aug
sep · oct · nov · dec

first post: 
April 30, 2003

highlight views:
Spammers' Choice

Jay elsewhere online
Jay Fienberg - the official home page

Wrong Notes - the music blog of the Ear Reverends

Fine & Full, aka, a fine and full burger

Sociomobilepoetextologia (moblog, currently inactive due to lack of proper mobile)

to enjoy roll
sites I like to read when I start from here

· Anastasia Fuller
· Andy Baio
· Biz Stone
· Boris Mann
· Bre Pettis
· Chris Dent
· Danny Ayers
· Dare Obasanjo
· David Czarnecki
· David Weinberger
· Don Park
· Evan Williams
· Greg Narain
· Jason Kottke
· Jim Benson
· Lucas Gonze
· Marc Canter
· Matt May
· Matt Mullenweg
· Michal Migurski
· Nancy White
· Rebecca Blood
· Reg Cheramy
· Richard MacManus
· Sam Ruby
· Shelley Powers
· Tim Bray
· danah boyd

powered by blojsom

Entries by blojsim