This diagram describes the ratio of noise to wisdom and the descending volume and value from noise to wisdom. According to Dee Hock “Noise becomes data when it transcends the purely sensual and has cognititve pattern.
Data becomes information when it can be related to other information in a way that adds meaning.
Information becomes knowledge when it is integrated with other information in a form useful for deciding, acting or composing new knowledge.
Knowledge becomes understanding when related to tother knowledge in a manner useful in conceiving, anticipating, evaluating and judging.
Understanding becomes wisdom when informed by purpose, ethics, principle, memory of the past, and projection into the future.”
At one end of the spectrum, data is increasingly abundant, whereas wisdom (which is “holistic, subjective, spiritual, conceptual, creative”) seems to becoming scarcer.
We watched Lark Rise to Candleford last night. Based on life in bygone Buckingham (Candleford) and Juniper Hill (Lark Rise) the series reflects a time when there seems to have been a far higher ratio of understanding and wisdom to data and information. Wise counsel seems to have been part of being in settled communities slowly facing up to change. The wisdom is captured in the winning entry to last night’s poetry competition:
As I went on my way,
Gossamer threads span from bush to bush like barricades,
As I broke through one after another
I was taken by a childish fear
They are trying to bind and keep me here
But as I grew from girl to woman, I knew
The threads that bind me were more enduring than gossamer.
They were spun of kinship and love
Given so freely that it could never be taken away from me.
They were the days before the coming of the railway – a back story of Lark Rise. The coming of the railway meant increased communication, which meant more noise, which meant more data, which meant more information – and before we know it, we are too tired and overwhelmed to process it any further. Now we contemplate rail journeys of only two hours from London to Glasgow – though wisdom may have gone out the window.
I am in the process of exploring the world of Facebook and Twitter. I now have the knowhow – now I am looking for the understanding and the wisdom to discern how to use it. Though there is a lot of noise and chatter going on I think I can now see a point to Twitter – I travel slowly! So I have changed my profile to “Cascading Insight – a dealership in second hand views” – and I am thankful for the tweets of others which have pointed me in the direction of understanding and wisdom. I will not be tweeting about my moods, where I am, and what time I’ve gone to bed. That is definitely too much information and just adds to the volume of noise we haven’t got a hope in hell of managing.