I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

03 Jan 2013

U2, Joshua Tree

I bet you all have heard it and were a little perturbed when you did. Some months back, I was over for breakfast at a friends’ home. My friend told her pre-teen daughter in their sunny kitchen that Sunday morning that she should just “Google” the question that was bothering her so early in the day. My initial reaction was to chide my friend about her ignorance. But then I didn’t know the answer to the child’s question either! So I pondered questions and answers as I waited for my breakfast.

Two things jumped out.

Firstly, people who traditionally had answers for our questions, parents, teachers in schools or university and trainers at the workplace don’t have them ALL anymore. They hopefully know WHERE you could get your answers rather than GIVE you a specific answer. And it’s not their fault either. Our need for specific information is so vast and varied that it is almost impossible to have it all in one’s head. Or anyone else’s head for that matter. The ability to search and find information has become critical. I just googled “How to use honey in your shelf that got crystallized”. (You have to warm it. Not add water and dissolve it as I originally imagined. The glucose monohydrate with heat will assume a liquid form temporarily.) No one could tell me. Fifteen minutes my employer will never get back.

Secondly, the thing that scares and bothers one about information from “out there” is its source. Did some kid in Tunisia bored out of his mind recommend that crystallized honey could be mildly microwaved? (My answer was cross checked with the infallible logic that “…so many food websites couldn’t all be wrong!”). This will always be a problem. The World Wide Web has many contributors and we can’t vouch for them all.

So buyer beware. And perhaps it was the best thing my friend was doing by getting her young daughter to come to grips with this new reality of learning.

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