Sunday, March 23, 2014

Knowledge Use - Some Broad Strokes

For the past week or so, lots of blogging notes have accumulated on my desk while an unusual amount of "spring cleaning" has claimed my time - let alone allergies which have muddled my thinking! At the very least I want to pin down some recent thought processes, regarding the importance of knowledge remaining in dynamic motion.

Knowledge use is far too important, to remain in default positions where it gets reconsidered only when absolutely necessary. After all - whenever unimpeded - individuals seek to redefine and reconfigure knowledge on an ongoing basis. Importantly, this process also needs to be brought back into the open. In other words, knowledge use is vital, outside the walls of establishments which are not in a position to interact directly with other public access points. The fact these institutions are all but closed off, means that too many important marketplace elements have no way of being coordinated so as to take place.

Unfortunately, austerity measures also threaten economic options which individuals are still investing for. What's more, people are derided and judged afterward for taking on the "wrong" educational investments. And yet, those "wrong" investments could appear to be most anything, when economic conditions deteriorate - either in regions or nations. How many have closely followed educational advice for instance, only to remain unemployed or under employed? Test scores have fallen in the U.S. in recent years, as students doubt whether availability of opportunity still exists in the workplace.

Any time that some knowledge use is deemed far more important than others, more resources get delegated to the "special" areas - while other vital aspects of knowledge use eventually suffer the consequences. When this occurs, broad areas of knowledge use eventually lose their dynamism. When knowledge use becomes static, that forces people to think and act in ways which are not necessarily suited for their temperament. What's more, over reliance on the "winning" factions introduces unnecessary static elements in monetary processes.

However, important knowledge use can be brought back to the table by utilizing the recorded hour as an access point. Learning to coordinate knowledge use is a good way to bring important economic activities back into motion, across all parts of society. Consider the most basic and social aspects of our lives, which no one should have to expect robots and automation to accomplish in our stead. This is a potential marketplace where all could have a say in providing structure, in order to remain engaged in responsible ways.

We also need the use of knowledge in our personal work, if we are to be effective in our input regarding resource use as it pertains to us. Present day voting processes are no substitute for such needed cooperation, in that they were structured for simpler societies. In the 20th century, the use of knowledge became a primary product which also brought people together: people who otherwise would have had insufficient reason to do so.

While knowledge can be widely dispersed via Internet, the Internet also needs to be a mechanism by which people can start to make things happen through knowledge use outside the purview of specific institutions. That is, individuals need to be able to create specific sets of solutions via Internet, for problems that special interests don't have adequate reasons to solve. Knowledge use needs to be approached more directly across disciplines, for many reasons. What do we want to regain? What is optimal knowledge use really about?

  • Finding our identities, and approaching life through the identities which have meaning to us.
  • Getting things done, far more effectively than would otherwise be possible.
  • Creating better ways for people to live among one another.
  • Exploring practical answers and solutions, in a world that would otherwise become impractical.
  • Or, knowledge use is about our continued evolution.

Of course these are just broad brushstrokes, and yet they provide some rationale, as to what automation should not be expected to perform for us at every turn. Most importantly, societies need to move away from the artificial divisions which segregated individuals at a young age as fit for knowledge use...or not. The primary problem in this regard is that when we age, it becomes more difficult to maintain physically demanding jobs until what a nation expects to be one's retirement age. If only for health and retirement assistance reasons (often knowledge workers don't retire), we need to begin sharing the work that is most important to us. This is important for people not just as they get older, but for younger generations who are waiting for access to knowledge based work as well.

What of the issue of early disability, that some are now compelled to claim? Consider the outrage, when pictures surface that someone on disability is out enjoying a boat ride, for instance. How dare they dip into the public till for economic support, when they can still function! Even so, just because someone remains capable of enjoying life, does not necessarily mean they are still capable of exerting themselves physically for more than several hours in a given time frame.

For instance, one might be able to even build a house...for an hour or so. Or rebuild an engine, given a couple of months instead of days. But who would hire them, if they require twenty breaks to the young person's two? Appearances can be deceiving when it comes to health matters, especially after a certain age. This may be due to chronic pain issues, or - in my circumstance - simply a metabolism that allows me to do substantial work for a while but then says it's time to stop. I fought hard against those limits a decade ago, before I finally realized what they implied.

And yet people in this position are still held responsible for themselves and for others - as it should be. The fact that so many remain in what loosely translates into long term unemployment, needs to be addressed. That's true at least for financial and identity based reasons - let alone everything else. Only consider that the typical retirement planning of the day, simply does not apply for this category. Thus the suggestion for all individuals to share in (coveted) knowledge based work, is a suggestion for realistic long term strategies.

Granted, there are some who would scoff at the idea of taking part in knowledge based work. Indeed, I've known a few who turned down college educations for more physical work that was more appealing - who would still walk to the shop when they could scarcely do anything else. Even so, it needs to be easier for these individuals to teach others the physically demanding work they actively took part in, when they can no longer perform that work optimally. Many who look to disability as a "way out" now, would no longer need it if they had viable knowledge use options when physical work becomes too difficult. I have faith that if society is willing to share its most important work among all who wish to take part, that much good could come of the result.

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