Fear Of Uncertainty →?→ Fear Of Learning
QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Wed 26th March 2008, 10:06pm)
People who haven't seen it happen, over and over and over in their own experience, or people who have no inkling of the last 50 years worth of research in the area, grossly underestimate the power of cognitive factors, especially the negative ones like dissonance and doubt.
The most honest thing that Jimbo ever says is that Wikipedia is all about having fun. What he knows but does not say is that his target demographic can have their fun only at the expense of just about everyone else who tries to contribute genuine knowledge to the sum.
Wikipedia is a game than runs on making people feel good about what little they know. That is the hook for all of its biggest addicts. In itself that could have been a good thing. If you add what little you know to some area that no one has touched yet, then the sum of knowledge in the database increases and you get the incentive to add a little more.
Where it can go wrong is when one person adds a bit of knowledge that makes other people feel less impressed with what little they thought they knew. This can be a critical moment in personal growth. It happens all the time in environments that have the job of fostering inquiry, learning, and teaching. A well-designed educational environment eases people over these rough patches — it helps people let go of the little they know in order to learn a little more. Wikipedia is not a well-designed educational environment. It is based on a cheap way out of this difficulty and the result is sheer disaster for those who need knowledge and for those who have knowledge to share. The only winners are the gatekeepers who block the flow of knowledge between the others — for them the pay-off is the feeling of power they get from controlling knowledge they neither have nor care about except as an ego-ointment.
Fear of uncertainty is only natural — in a state of nature the critter that hestiates is often lost. And so eternity and evolution equip the creatures of time with diverse adaptations for traversing a state of uncertainty and coming out the other side.Charles Sanders Peirce
gave the cache-all name of inquiry
to any way of achieving the fixation of belief
, that is, of passing from a state of doubt to a state of certainty, however absolute or relative, genuine or illusory, stable or transient that certainty might be. By way of a first analysis he sorted the most prominent methods of inquiry into four types. In order of effectiveness from the least to the greatest they are as follows:
- Method of Tenacity
- Method of Authority
- A Priori Rationality
- Scientific Inquiry
So a state of uncertainy finds us at a fork in the road, with choices to make.
As we puzzle over the tragic trajectory of Wikipedia, one of the phenomena that we need to understand better is the persistent tendency of Wikipedians to choose what turns out to be a very dysfunctional branch of that fork. It appears that the fear of uncertainty overwhelms the capacity for more effective inquiry and they fixate on a state that can only be described as a fear of knowledge or a fear of learning.
Jon AwbreyThis post has been edited by Jon Awbrey: Thu 17th April 2008, 4:26pm