Surprised with How Little I Knew about the Stuff I Know

Here’s a shocking fact from an English major: I don’t remember ever hearing about the book Walden before this class. Now, I know more about Thoreau than I can care for but not all of what I’ve discovered is negative. I had no idea that this man decided to spend two years of his life in a cabin that he built himself in the middle of nowhere and that he documented his experience. Although I was captivated by some of his notions of the comfort in solitude and the respect for nature that is all around us, I was just as surprised at how whole chapters were dedicated to the most mundane subjects like the changes in the color and states of a pond. Since the beginning of the semester, I’ve learned a lot more about Thoreau through Walden and his philosophies that are at times inspiring and at other times disturbingly arrogant. Thoreau wasn’t the only thing that made me take a step back to assess my relationship with technology. The Information which was accompanied by numerous discussions, made me realize just how far we’ve come in dependency as well as how a lack of reliance can also be crippling in today’s society. Now, when I come across news on upcoming technological advancements and even simple everyday activities such as accessing a website, I can stop and think about all the components and customization that when into it. It’s easy to take advantage of all the work that went into what we see in everyday life.

This class has also made my brain spiral into infinite questions. Although I’ve heard the classic, “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” argument, I have never been thrown through such a loop as when I first thought about how information requires information in order to create new information so where did the original information originate from? In The Information and Metadata, there were mentions of this phenomenon and it felt like a knew that logically it made sense but the more I thought about it the more I couldn’t make any sense of it. Recently, my group discussed a part in Metadata that mentioned that a library was more than just a room full of books and how an organized system of categorizing was necessary. This is a perfect example of how I agreed with a statement once I heard it, but I never thought about it before and still can’t quite wrap my brain around it. This has happened multiple time in class and I always find our discussions interesting. Other than these overarching concepts, programs like Virtual Box and Omeka are platforms that I’m not surprised they exist yet I’m surprised by how much you can do through them. I show my friends Virtual Box and they already feel as if that is “hacker level” and they can’t believe it’s just a free program we use to experiment commands with. Everything I thought I knew about the basic function of technology and components of the world was put into consideration through the material discussed in this class and I’m grateful for the eye-openers!

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