I only got through about half of Nelson’s “Computer Lib/ Dream Machines” but so far, I have thoroughly enjoyed his insightful thoughts. Something he talks about that really interests me is how knowledge becomes power. He also makes the relevant point that knowledge leads to a sort of “priesthood” because people who hold power become selfish of it.
Experts in their respective fields tend to “hoard” their knowledge but often times don’t realize it. It’s like there is this preconceived notion that each field in the workforce or each subject in the school curriculum must be precisely divided. Outsiders of a specific field will not understand what is going on within that field just like “tie-ins to previous interests and knowledge” are not encouraged when focusing on a specific subject in school. With all this division, it is hard to make the relevant and necessary connections needed to relate similar ideas and get a holistic view of the way things truly work in everyday life.
Then there’s this idea of “specialization” which is hailed as the defining factor in the human race. Many people attribute the success of homo sapiens over neanderthals to the development of trade and to the specialization of tasks. Is this the reason why we humans are so eager to organize things according to subject or field? Is it maybe ingrained in our being?
Nelson doesn’t seem to think so. He talks about how the education system actually creates “chains” for the free-born human mind. Nelson thinks we should view the whole picture when it comes to working and learning instead of making divisions where we see fit according to the way our brains are organized. I cannot decide if these divisions that exist in the minds of many people today are natural or nurtured. I also cannot decipher if the divisions inhibit or activate intellectual thought. I suppose I will reflect on this post when I complete the reading.