Should knowledge be free and accessible? No. It cannot!

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We have DVDs. We have Internet. We have radio. We have books. Knowledge is everywhere around us. And we feel good about that. After all, this is the correct way to go right? Knowledge should be everywhere and free! All people should have access to the Internet, to online encyclopedias (call me Wikipedia), to reading blogs (you are here aren’t you?), to read e-books…

However all of the above statements are based on a simple but deadly misunderstanding: “Data” is NOT “Knowledge” !!! We indeed live in an ocean of data. Data is everywhere in digital form, readily accessible by anyone who has a modem, a mobile phone or an ADSL line. However this is not knowledge. Having all the statistics of baseball at the right-click of your mouse is not “knowledge”. Being one second away from data concerning all the countries of the world in Wikipedia is not “knowledge”.

He (or she) who seeks true knowledge has to suffer, to get tired, to think hard, to spend time, in order to reach to the point where “data” is transformed to “knowledge”. Take for example the chemical elements. Anyone has unlimited access to thousand GBs of data concerning all the elements, their attributes, their properties, the chemical reactions in which they participate and so on and so forth. Could that mean that we are all “chemists”? No. One has to take time from his life studying the data, performing experiments, putting in his own thoughts in the existing information available, make assumptions, create theories, formulate new paths for others to follow. Only after he has devoted himself to these tasks can he truly claim he has KNOWLEDGE on the matter in hand. Someone who is just sitting on the shoulders of giants, is not a giant. Today’s science is a great example of how inherited knowledge can lead to catastrophy: people getting ready-made knowledge off the shelf, do not care about anything but how to publish more and how to earn more from it, without showing any respect to the old scientists who warn them against limitless or immature use of such knowledge. And if all these are important for science, it is actually needless to say that all of the above matter even more when it comes to truly important knowledge (e.g. knowledge on a difficult philosophical issue and not just dry scientific knowledge)…

READ ALSO:  Knowledge. Destruction.

Copy and Paste and you will be nothing more than a computer (or worse).

Get involved, sacrifice things you like for the sake of seeking the truth and you will have reached a step closer to knowledge.

Knowledge IS BY DEFINITION inaccessible and not free!

And all of us must try hard to find it and sacrifice a lot to be worthy of it!

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Comments (

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  1. Sudarshan Kakoty

    I haven’t read the full article… I can’t.
    Well, You keep in mind that books are lile nothing but like a webpage, written in poor old HTML.
    Knowledge should be free, means it should be, it’s up to you, how you contribute… by practically or theoritically.

    There are some people who use readymade software, make something… get curious, how the f*#k this tool work.. then learns codings…
    there are some people, who just want to get things done.
    Suddenly your computer not working… How somebody don’t know what’s inside or how it works, and manufacturer refused to provide the source.
    How experiments would possible to conduct if Newton hid the gravitational theory from world.
    Freedom doesn’t means free of cost, freedom means let it go wherever it want. Share it

    1. skakos

      Share knowledge with people not worthy of it and you will spell disaster. Do you really believe that all knowledge can just be disseminated everywhere and then we can just trust everyone to be mature with it?

  2. Knowledge is overpriced – Conor Byrnes cyberculture blog
  3. Adi

    Very nice

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  5. ceylanswenson

    “Anyone has unlimited access to THOUSANDS of GBs of data concerning all the elements…”
    “One has to take time from ONES life studying the data, performing experiments, putting in ONES own thoughts in the existing information available, MAKING assumptions, CREATING theories, AND FORMULATING new paths for others to follow. Only after ONE has devoted ONESELF to these tasks can ONE truly claim ONE has KNOWLEDGE ABOUT the matter AT hand.”
    “Get involved, sacrifice things you like for the sake of seeking the truth and you will have GOTTEN a step closer to knowledge.”

    Thank you for your thoughts on the subject. They were enlightening.

    1. skakos

      Thanks.

  6. mike4ty4

    Total misunderstanding of what “free” means in this context. “Free” doesn’t mean “effortless to learn”, it means “free of monetary cost” at least to an extent that even those who want to put in the effort but who are not wealthy, who are of low socioeconomic strata, or even those in very poor countries as well, will be able to do so if they want to. In other words, it means the _raw learning materials_ should be “free” of monetary charge, or at least cheap enough that even those whose only source of income is a bottom-wage job can afford it. “Knowledge should be free” is just a simplified way of stating this. So your point is either trivial or a strawman.

    1. skakos

      So time and effort for you do not cost? You can try to learn something very hard and important with a 10 years effort let’s say with zero cost whatsoever? How? From free e-books on the free Internet from your free house using your free computer? Based on knowledge acquired from your free university? The meaning of the articles covers both aspects of “free”: Important knowledge is indeed not “free” from an effort perspective and, thus, cannot be free from a monetary perspective. This is a logical consequence. Every man who has invested effort to learn something important (I am talking about in depth knowledge not reading Wikipedia) has necessarily spent both money and time to do it for many many years. I am just saying that is the way it is. Not that it is a good or bad thing.

  7. Alfredo Manuel Sanchez Maldonado Garcia Vargas Gonzalez Cardenas Torres Perez

    You know they are tying to take down Wikipedia bc a market is lost when all that “data ” is available to the masses. I believe in a way it is a form of knowledge bc I don’t have to put a face value on it bc the information is there at our fingertips and we can take the opportunity to decide if it is plausible and if we should learn it. so why should I have to subscribe to JSTOR for information that the founders themselves might have or have not discover them selves. What makes JSTOR more reputable than Wikipedia and what if any should we choose to believe the “knowledge aka data” that JSTOR has to offer.
    Just another fine example of the ugly side of capitalism, purchasing the access to FREE information and putting a price tag on it while dismissing others as inaccurate or unworthy of being learn bc it’s a public encyclopedia free from biased conclusions to serve those who created it and profit from it.

    Knowledge should be free, it should not be owned by any single private group of society unless you are seeking knowledge to seek fortune in which case you have failed from the moment you embarked. Knowledge should be readily available to everyone and not hidden away like vintage photographs.

    Once who seeks and discovers knowledge would choose a Nobel prize over a patent, for the latter one only proves that the knowledge discovered no longer belongs to the seeker but the one whit the largest monetary unit and thus knowledge it self losses it value for its no longer knowledge but data.

    JSTOR is another Encyclopedia Britannica with friends in Washington holding to dear life to its loosing market like Best Buy with the onslaught of Amazon pure and simple.

    Knowledge should be free so a unified world can benefit from it but how can we if we continue to let JSTOR and others divide us by institutionalizing us into believing that their “DATA” is really knowledge and thus must be paid for while our “DATA” is just “DATA” bc it free and readily available to those that seek it.

    1. skakos

      I see your point. However note that only data can be free and accessible. Knowledge entails the will and effort and time to analyze that data in order to transform it into something meanlignful. This can never be “free”… Ready knowledge is a dangerous thing. There is an old buddhist saying which says everything: When the student is ready, the master appears. If you are not ready, not even 1,000 TB of information will help you…

  8. jor

    you misinterpreted the term knowledge with the application of knowledge

    1. skakos

      What do you mean?

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  10. The Light

    Scientific Knowledge must be accessible to everyone though. Nobody suffers when this knowledge is shared. Infact everyone benefits. There is no fault in making it accessible.

    1. skakos

      Would you accept an article for an answer? 🙂 See http://harmoniaphilosophica.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/aaron-mit-jstor-free-knowledge/.

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