We need to know what we do not know.

I continue to think about the conditions of the twenty-first century. I think conditions is the right word, because the skills we need are not different. The conditions under which we are called to use those skills are. Here is my list of conditions, to date.
  1. Everyone builds capacity (since I wrote that I thought may be everyone improves would have been better).
  2. Everyone leads.
  3. Everyone is in charge.
  4. You have to be open to what you do not know.
  5. Everyone needs to be reflective.
  6. Feedback is instantaneous.
  7. Everyone has to manage their connectedness.

So here goes an attempt to describe why we have to be open to what we do not know.

Today in chapel they showed two videos. Much has been made of the first including a column in the august New York Times. The column supposes the old way of learning and knowing: careful study, long hours of research, and grounded arguments. I am not sure this cuts it anymore. 

Facebook is famous for the phrase, "done is better than perfect." Jeff Bethke seems to have been unintentionally doing this same thing writ large. He had an idea. He was open to what he did not know about it. People have responded. He is growing, and so are many people with him.

In science we are taught, way too late I think, that journals filled with publications are a conversation. Researchers dancing slowly around the truth poking holes in each others research and ideas and advancing their own. This process can be seen on Twitter nearly every minute of the day. We have to know what we know and test it. And then be open to correction and advancement of our ideas. We need to hold strong where we are experts, in the face of trolls and naysayers, and keep the conversation moving. We need to know what we know and be able to listen to and be open to what other people know. We also need to be able to test those people and what they know as well.

And perhaps the most important part of all this is that we need to all know how to do this. Not just the scientist or the academic. Because the content is so easy to find and so easy to fake everyone needs to be able to dig.