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Efficiency vs. Meaning

Efficiency doesn’t equal meaning. That’s the essence of Nick Carr’s comments on Google. I tend to agree. Knowing involves work – and while search is certainly part of the work, the result doesn’t yield knowing other than at the most basic level.

"It’s not what you know," writes Google’s Marissa Mayer, "it’s what you can find out." That’s as succinct a statement of Google’s intellectual ethic as I’ve come across. Forget "I think, therefore I am." It’s now "I search, therefore I am." It’s better to have access to knowledge than to have knowledge. "The Internet empowers," writes Mayer, with a clumsiness of expression that bespeaks formulaic thought, "better decision-making and a more efficient use of time."

…It’s not what you can find out, Frost and James and Poirier told us; it’s what you know. Truth is self-created through labor, through the hard, inefficient, unscripted work of the mind, through the indirection of dream and reverie. What matters is what cannot be rendered as code. Google can give you everything but meaning.

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