In the Introduction of the sequel book right after a decade: Information Anxiety 2, Richard Saul Wurman defines what is learning, and what is memory:
However, beyond any technology, what we have to remember when dealing with information, is that it all comes down to having the right attitude. We have to give ourselves permission to seek out and accept only that information which applies to our interests with a heavy focus on interest connections. Nodes of connection opportunities at each thoughtful breath. When we accumulate and organize information around our interests, and consequently reject the vast majority of the overwhelming onslaught of raw data and understand the differentiation between data and information, we will be able to learn what we desire to know so that we can design our lives.
Learning is remembering what we’re interested in.
Memory is what we are ultimately made of. That memory needs an organization that comes from our personal vision — eyes with thoughtful filtering lenses, ears with our own frequency, and finally, brains of Velcro tuned to our personal interest connections."
While reading the paragraphs, I appreciated its simplicity and it inspired me with several thoughts. I think about a friend in travel who is going to Italy at the end of May, and another friend confused by her boy friend ill-treating her and waking-up in the midnight. These thoughts just fast flied through my mind in watching the fine-carved fonts printed and the beautiful layout of the paragraphs. I myself is figuring why.
The first lady who’s visiting Italy is seeking in her annual travel plan and participation of activities concerning understanding / saving World-wide civilization heritage sites and cultures. Comparing to her in-house MIS work, those ancient stories and antiques are treasures to settle herself in. In understanding her trajectories, I can experience that kind of world from her eyes. What is she looking for? A separate reality to everyday life only? In the years of our discussion, my understanding toward her life is starting from “the difference" (comparing to her normal life) shifting to “the same" (connecting with other people’s lives elswhere). Could that be a evolved form of a game?
The other friend is suffered from her boyfriend. He ill-treated her. Maybe in a non-violent form, but from Bateson’s perspective, it’s a psychological torture — non-verbal logic-typing “violence". I believe it’s a man’s will enforced on other person’s behaviors. My friend is trapped in such a loop and couldn’t get out. If we want to get out of such circle, we need first to empower ourselves, and language / logic is the first energizer we must take. In some scenarios like military services or other totalitarian institution context (i.e. school, class or hospital, and jail: total institutions), we do fail and “play the game" — follow the rediculous rules set by others. In playing these games, we use language and behavior to interact with the environment and learn from them back in. When listening and thinking about my friend’s suffering, I wonder could she play her game little by little? Is there such a game for people to practice trial and error?
Those digressions contrast the main theme of Richard Saul Wurman’s words: learning, and memory. In a world of over information, of attention economy prevailing, he said “learning is remembering what we’re interested in." My friends, they are carving and (re-designing) their lives in traveling and confusing. They are learning, just like the online game playing kids. Just like office game playing. “Odd girls out" sort of friendship game playing. And others.
In converging from the scenarios and thoughts, the landscape shown post-clouded calmness and bright-shining. Maybe the story could be told this way:
And in designing “things", maybe I could help people dive into “learning" and build their own memories. Moving from telling stories to building memories, this might be a big leap psychologically and psychiatrically.