Sunday, December 21, 2008

Knowledge and newspapers

After thinking about my previous post further I've realised that newspapers are fairly entertaining. They also help fulfil the basic human need for gossip and discussion, which is good.

The problem is they just provide you with information, no deep knowledge. I read loads of newspapers and news websites every day and I know what's happening, but (to quote Elliot Carver) I don't know "why" things are happening.

I don't know enough about the world to come to analyse what happens independently of journalistic blowhards, disingenuous politicians, lawyers, scientists, and experts of every stripe.

Chris Dillow (a journalist who has written this book, and can therefore be considered an agent of deep knowledge) says of opinion:

Opinion is over-rated. Sure, I like a neat turn of phrase or a new perspective. On a good day I even like the occasional fact. But mere opinions are like arseholes - everyone's got one, and I don't want to hear any of them.

Because I possess relatively little deep knowledge it would be a good idea for me to go somewhere and read lots of books about a wide variety of important things (economics, management, accountancy, psychology, engineering, physics, maths, electronics, computer science, literature, philosophy, politics etc) and get "up to speed" on Life, the Universe, and Everything and then I'll be able to make my own judgements.

I also think that "not reading the daily newspapers" would be a good New Years Resolution, particularly bearing in mind (the opinion of) Thomas Jefferson:

Avertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.


I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.


The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.
Quite right. An opinion, of course, but still.

So I guess I'll be reapplying to university...


Edited on the 27th of December, links and quotes added.

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