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The Ecstasy Of Incomplete Information: Why Knowing Everything Instantly Is Not The Best Thing Ever

Online access to reference materials is amazing. Want info on a movie's cast? imdb.com. Need to know how much money that movie made yesterday? boxofficemojo.com. Then there's Wikipedia. Despite attempts to game the system and despite sometimes overzealous volunteer editors, Wikipedia is an extraordinary source for summary information on nearly any topic, usually with robust citations for those who want to learn more. As we revel in this luxury of ready access to answers, it's worth considering the tradeoffs. Knowing provides closure, but the mystery of not knowing inspires curiosity, wonder and a shared quest for answers. Are we losing the richness of the mystery? Are we corrupting our freedom to even ask those around us what they know? (more…)

By Arthur Coddington, ago