Sigh. Life is indeed full of puzzling person and phenomenon that annoys me and I found myself always wonder why they do that and what I have done to make them act that way (or regardless what I have done and do, they are just like that). Why?
The new house is coming together nicely. All the good decisions were made and the outcome is really satisfying. Bill is a good guy. But then, communication with him is just not there — calling him didn't usually feel welcomed, and calling me always starts 7is in the morning (regardless the day of the week) and it's always when I needed to pay him. How, one way, ish. After getting off that annoying phone conversation with him, I was thinking that this is both entertaining and annoying — I thought I'm an angry old man. Well, here he is, an even angrier than I am — funny, and rude. Oh well well, no harm done, so be it.
Reading "Practicing History: Selected Essays" by Barbara Tuchman, I am deeply shocked how terrible track record of human had been and how ugly the outlook of current days would be (and already have been). It's really disturbing and sad.
The good news is that I found a new word, euphemism, I feel it's exactly the noun I have been searching for to describe those bloated response of Chinese language I have been complaining about. I'm not sure I agree with its dictionary description, but I can see the root of it is that an act of window dressing to make something sounds prettier, better than it actually is, with a motive of what!? In the oriental world the common perception is that the drive of saving-face is a strong argument. But honestly I now fail to see the line between face-saving and trickery — by dressing up and avoiding a clarification of the words in use, I would argue that you are just giving me a false impression and leading me astray, often with a deliberate intention of such false effect as the outcome! Isn't this trickery or what!?
I really enjoyed her words on history because she stated clearly the words she meant, and her stands on things she discussed. See, this is what a historian or any profession should do — a thinker who questions order given in a broader sense than his/her own job and command chain, derives an opinion and judgment with your own argument, and take a stand for question and discussion. It's hard, confusing, destructive, anti-progress, anti-many-status-quos, but it is necessary, must.
technology != True. Period.
Her words led to think more about my profession — technology. Yes I have had this feeling recently that words like "education", "technology", "science" have been misused as if it's outlook is unquestionably good and its cause universally agreed!
But far from it I'm afraid. Not only its outcomes have been proven to be a disaster (in history) in many many places and periods, but its ingredient and reasoning have been borrowed by too many statements so they are now universally used, but hardly understood and checked!
Everybody talks about science as if anything now prefix-ed by the word becomes a valid offer. Really!? I was thinking the Chinese word xx学, what does it mean!? Is it science? is it research? or is it knowledge? For science, I think we are talking about a pattern that is recognized, has predictable output when given a known input. We believe we know the mechanics that converts the input into output, in a understandable, documented fashion.
Technology, on the other hand, is far from it. It is nowadays being used as if itself is the answer to problem. Not at all! Technology is at most a method, and I would even take this further to say that it is an opinionated implementation of something. What it brings us is efficiency, what it derives is a query into the problem (if there wasn't a definition of problem, it will create at one version; if there is a version to work with, it throws more dimensions at it so we know more about that problem after) so we get more insights. **In the end, it is a mechanics to facilitate discussion, not an ultimate solution as many many Powerpoints are preaching.
In today's atmosphere I feel the equation of technology=science is becoming a conceptual pattern. Even more disturbing is that it has been extended to become technology=data, technology=science, science=True, therefore data=True! Oh mine. I don't even think euphemism is sufficient to describe this fear of mine — this is utterly insane, and false, and unacceptable!
let me try to argue
And here is my argument.
First, technology is a tool, like a hammer, that we need to first say the task is to knock a nail! Without that, hammer itself is a neutral, meaningless, piece of metal on a wood stick. It will then become a weapon if the 2nd piece is now stating the task is to wave and knock down that guy charging at you with a katana — you see the point? Technology itself should not be elevated to a Sainthood. It doesn't deserve it, and it never says so itself. Technology is a powerful tool, but the user who swings that hammer and the goal of that swing are what we should be discussing, questioning, and debating. Throwing the buzz word "based on the latest greatest technology" is confusing and BS.
Technology is just a tool. It requires a definition of the task to achieve, and its effectiveness is at mercy of its user.
Second, there may not be a truth, but there is knowledge, and the purpose of gaining knowledge is not to seek truth. I don't believe there is truth, absolute or not (I think in common thinking we also have an equation of fact=truth. I'll accept that definition, then it still holds that data!=fact, therefore data!=truth) Therefore, it doesn't compute if it is the goal of anything. What is a knowledge then? I can only think of a definition that knowledge is a personal awareness of (input → output) pair (the "→" stands for a transformation mechanics). Yes, it is subjective, and it has no right or wrong. I know this sounds quite strange.
Knowledge is subjective. It is defined as
output = transformation(input). Truth, if exists, = facts.
It is both funny and sad witnessing Chinese talks swing from complete ignorance of data and digitizing information (so to gain conformity, consistency, and efficiency) to these days data everywhere as if data is a truth.
Of course not! Data is a presentation of information, that's it. You can certainly point at someone's photo and make statement that he is a bad guy (you actually mean he looks like a bad guy, or he has a bad guy's look? I'm not sure even yourself knows which one you meant!?), but no one is going to take that as fact or truth because it is just one look of that person's million dimensions, and you didn't even give the definition of your knowledge equation of (look → bad guy)! See!? You need to define:
- what is a
- what is the transformation mechanism?
- what is a
Only then, your statement based on data becomes clear. But no one says your equation is accurate, valid, correct, True! Therefore, having data itself does not (in)validate anything. It is an ingredient to establish a reasoning which always depends on the view point of the analyst and the process that logics are derived!
Data, has information. But it is not fact (and leave Truth out of this will be wise).
Data is another form of information. Information can be used to reconstruct a fact. But even that is a far-fetched wish because then who is defining that fact?
I feel it is a lost battle.
— by Feng Xia