knowledge is free – bring your own container

One World – One Web, originally uploaded by psd.

I love this poster. There is a high-res PDF version available if you click through, and I recommend it. Lots of wisdom here.

It particularly resonates with me as it pertains to knowledge.

Kids, remember back when….

– you were sitting on the couch, and suddenly had a hankering to know who won the World Series back in Eleventy-Twelve and who was that left-handed hitter anyway?

Barring any in-house encyclopedia, you have to wait til the library opens and search the stacks or get the reference librarian to look it up for you.

-Remember when the vast majority of the planet was far away and shrouded in mystery, and only the most intrepid of explorers braved the wilds and brought us back stories, then pictures of exotic locales.

-Remember when access to historic artifacts was limited to a chosen few in a dusty back room?

If you are “of a certain age”, you know what I’m talking about, and we are probably the last generation that will.

If you aren’t, you have no freaking CLUE what I’m talking about because you are a Child of t’Internets and you are free to know and grow. (cue hippy music).

The internet, if you are lucky enough to have access to it and a way to view it, provides 24/7 access to an unfathomable amount of knowledge, anytime, anywhere.

You can learn to write Chinese (or 224 characters of it, anyway, all of which I’ve promptly forgotten.)

You can spend an entire evening giddily skipping around the 1830s … from The First Opium War to several revolutions, not all of them in France, surprisingly. Who knew there was a Texas Revolution? Or a Belgian one?

You can learn about the relative merits of the mantle, the pardessus, and the paletot.

You can see how the polar ice caps are faring and the sun is flaring.

You can read all the classics of literature, in several languages.

You can view great works of art and learn about the artists.

Better yet, t’internets has led to the democratization of knowledge …. one person, one voice. Or rather, many more voices, many more people contributing to our collective knowledge.

Need the original schematic/wiring diagram for a 1940s desk phone? It’s out there.

Need to know why your bilateral destabilizer keeps shutting down? Someone else has probably experienced it and shared on a forum.

And here’s where I start getting all hippy-dippy, waving daisies, love and sunshine, because to me, this is just the coolest thing EVER.


You can’t put this genie back in the bottle.

Knowledge is no longer in the hands of a privileged few to be doled out to the worthy. Knowledge is being openly shared and recorded, so that others may benefit.

Maybe access to the internet, to that vast treasure trove of knowledge, SHOULD be a basic human right.

Maybe THIS is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius? 🙂

Related reading:

The History and Philosophy of Project Guttenberg by Michael Hart


7 thoughts on “knowledge is free – bring your own container

  1. I couldn’t have put it better myself. I have a passion for the internet too and am saddened when older people are afraid of it. Brilliantly put Kellski.

  2. @david, are we friends on GoodReads? You always have the best books. I’ve just downloaded the sample and am looking forward to it. thanks!

    @joey, miss you, girlfriend … how are you doing?

    @dad, I WROTE it, so you only need to share it with your OTHER friend. *snort* 🙂

    I love you all! xxxxxxx

  3. Unlike Dr. Gorman, Wikipedia brings me great joy. I see it as a fantastic example of how knowledge can be distributed outside of elite institutions. I have watched stubs of articles turn into rich homes for information about all sorts of subjects. What I like most about Wikipedia is the self-recognition that it is always a work-in- progress. The encyclopedia that I had as a kid was a hand-me-down; it stated that one day we would go to the moon. Today, curious poor youth have access to information in an unprecedented way. It may not be perfect, but it is far better than a privilege-only model of access.

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