Re: Whaddaya know? (long)

Subject: Re: Whaddaya know? (long)
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 09 Apr 2001 12:03:38 -0700

Dick Margulis wrote:

> No, Lisa, I certainly would not suggest that you _must_ be able to
> explain right away every grammar rule without looking it up. But I would
> say that you _must_ recognize the names of standard punctuation marks,
> _must_ know that a sentence has a subject and a verb, _must_ know that a
> hyphen is not a dash. And of course you _must_ be able to say, "I don't
> recall the exact rule, but I know where to look it up" (always a better
> answer than, "Whatever!").

This is a realistic compromise between the ideal and the realistic.

However, I am curious: is anybody besides me uncomfortable with the
widespread idea that you don't need to know something so long as you
can look it up?

Naturally, knowledge that you don't use everyday grows rusty, and
you may have to look it up. However, what I'm talking about is the
idea that knowing where to find information is as good as actually
knowing the information.

It isn't.

Not only is it more time-consuming, but it reduces the chances to
make the knowledge a reflex, or for the brain to act creatively and
make new connections. It's better than total ignorance, but it's
second best. Even though it may be a necessity, given the sheer
amount of information available today, I feel uncomfortable about
the way that people settle for it so easily.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com

"We did it ! And everything else as well,
We're all Libyan students from hell."
- Attila the Stockbroker, "Libyan Students from Hell"


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