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“It just happens to be in the nature of knowledge that it cannot be conserved if it does not grow.”


  1. Terry says:

    The article is kind of a reverse explosion.

    A bunch of interesting ideas were imploded together and got squooshed into a single mass. Turn it this way and you see the notion that to keep ideas fresh, you need to constantly examine them. Turn it that way and there is a distinction between innovation and curiosity (when tilted one way, the distinction makes sense, but when tilted another way, the two look like the same thing). Look underneath and there is an organic/biological analogy that research, like a living organism, dies if it does not grow (mechanism unclear … needs an explicit model … preferably mathematical). Jutting out from the side is criticism of people who want to “know what we already know about a thing” (huh? … needs more context … criticizing someone eager to learn is odd). Buried deep inside and only partially peeking out is the value of “subversion” (a notion ripe for unethical exploitation by academic hate mongers).

    The grow-or-die idea sounds the most interesting. Need to be more explicit though. Is it two independent trends: old ideas fade and we need to produce new ideas to keep the total heap of ideas growing?; or is there an important interaction between the two trends?

    • I’m going to take that as a compliment. If it is a critique, it amounts to accusing a blog post of failing to be a book. Thanks. (And, yes, I should write that book.)

      To be clear: there is no implicit criticism of people who want to know what is already known. It is precisely that curiosity that the drive for “innovation” too often tramples.

      • Dzhaughn says:

        Please do write that book! Or at least find for us something similar that has already been written.

      • Terry says:

        It wasn’t meant as a critique. Nor as a compliment. It was just my reaction. Very much a FWIW comment.

        I thought about writing something about the grow-or-die point, but I realized I didn’t really understand it. What I did understand was that there were a lot of ideas in the post, many interesting.

  2. jim says:

    I dont think curiosity is viewed as subversive generally. Its actually viewed as just plain stupid. Why would you be curious about or interested in something when its easier to just make a pile of cash, watch football and drink beer?

  3. David says:

    Curiosity is creativity. They don’t seem to me to be two separate entities altogether. One helps the others.

  4. Mikhail Shubin says:

    Yes, this article was a great read

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