I go to my doctor who prescribes a medication for my chronic illness. Some months later, frustrated by my decline, I join an on-line group called Patients Like Me and start chatting with fellow sufferers around the world. I find out some are taking the same medication as me but double my dose. My doctor has told me I’m on the maximum dose. Turns out my doctor is prescribing the maximum dose he has ever prescribed. He agrees to increase my dose and, belatedly, I begin to improve.
What’s really at issue here is distinguishing knowledge from information, signal from noise. It’s been a problem since the days of Socrates, but as the noise increases, more of us are interested, in a greater variety of ways, in extracting knowledge. Of course, we get it wrong a lot, and the number of seekers and the variety of searches renders the noise cacophonous. But is there more stupidity around? Or more confusion? Could be there’s a vast amount of learning under way amidst the soul-deadening business that pervades contemporary culture. I’m determined to remain optimistic. And I will continue to follow Umair for illumination.