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Ah yes

I was describing to [info]tomsdisch the things I'd been finding via Google in service of my new book (some described herein) -- things I didn't know could be known --  and he said "ah yes, Google has put an end to the art of wondering."

Which to me attains very nearly to the status of an immortal apercu.

L. while seeing his point said that in another sense it WAS the art of wondering -- or the craft of wondering -- how to shape your wondering in the direction of the most relevant answers.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 6th, 2007 01:55 am (UTC)
So rather than wondering's being a constant state, it can now be a starting point? It still doesn't mean it won't take you to all sorts of places; they're just not all in your head (or the library), I suppose.
Sep. 6th, 2007 12:10 pm (UTC)
Well I think what tomsdisch meant was that if wondering becomes active - a search for answers -- it ceases to become wondering. The nice thing (some would say) about wondering is its pointlessness. "I wonder if there's a stamp so valuable and rare there's only one... hmm.. maybe... yes, I bet there is... who knows, really... Ah well" etc. A state akin to mental dawdling, and similarly easeful.
Sep. 6th, 2007 12:57 pm (UTC)
I'd probably go with L, then: both options are open. Mental dawdling is a fine thing indeed, but it's nice to be able to pursue details if I'm so inclined, in the middle of the night with my computer.
Sep. 6th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC)
I agree with L.
And I love all the little side trips and vistas that you discover while googling something completely different.
I also use gmail (google mail). The "targeted" ads on the right side of the mailbox are frequently amusing, and occasionally surreal.
As I ponder the questionable link between the contents of my email messages and the advertisements, I wonder what it would be like if computers could experience the flight of ideas that sometimes accompanies human psychosis.Would the computer's associations be more in sync with human readers if its standard logic were twisted a bit?
Of course, the concept of a psychotic computer begs other questions.
But I bet I could google them.
Sep. 6th, 2007 03:33 am (UTC)
It can't be the end of wondering - just literally two minutes ago; before popping in here I was googling a girl I knew in Vermont (neighbor and coworker) five years ago - if there is any sign of her to be found there it eluded me. I then thought how odd it is in this day and age that I could lose someone so completely out there in the world - the night - even though five years ago (which seems like moments ago) she was such a huge part of my everyday world. Gone. Ungoogleable.
Sep. 6th, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC)
I had the same experience trying to track down a girl I knew in high school. I'm sure she got married and has a different last name, but I have no idea what it is. What am I supposed to do? Ask some other old high school friend that I still know? (Uh, is it really down to just one now?) Go to a high school reunion? Heaven forfend! I'd rather just wonder ...
Sep. 6th, 2007 03:46 am (UTC)
it turned wondering from an art to a skill. active wondering.
Sep. 6th, 2007 04:20 am (UTC)
If we were to agree that the more we know the more we don't know, then surely the more we find out (through Google), the more we have to wonder about.

Anyway, as a rather inept Googler, I agree with L.
Sep. 6th, 2007 09:21 am (UTC)
It all depends on what you wonder. Google is fantastic for many things, but in some areas it is still pretty hopeless.

I have learned that it is better to wonder about etymology until I get home and can look in a paper dictionary than to waste time looking things up at work, and I'm sure there are a host of other subjects about which Google knows surprisingly little.
Sep. 6th, 2007 12:07 pm (UTC)
Gee -- may be -- I wonder....
Sep. 6th, 2007 01:13 pm (UTC)
Senses of wonder
I'm reminded of discussions at cons about "whatever happened to the sensawunder?" We all agree that it takes a lot more to evoke that awe, that congeries of feelings we used to call the Gothic sublime. More in the real world: Ho, hum, trash on Mt. Everest, no more snows on Kilimanjaro, tourist excursions to the South Pole and through the Northwest Passage. More in the literary world: whose world changes by opening a new translation of Homer?

The Internet itself in its multifarious splendor--just another way to buy stuff and conduct pick-ups.
Sep. 6th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
And then, working behind the scenes, there are those of us who specifically work to support and encourage the art of wondering, and specifically the art of wondering without answers.
Sep. 6th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC)
A friend who teaches art says that his students immediately come up with reference for items he once had to spend hours in libraries to find. Although those hours were not spent (as would have been more profitable) drawing, he wandered up many a blind alley that proved fortunate in other ways, paging through the wrong book, finding answers to the wrong questions. It's a lot easier to just hit the back arrow on a page it took 5 seconds to find than to close and re-shelf a book you've hunted for the stacks for, even though it seems not to be as relevant to your problem as you'd hoped; therein lies the hope for happy accidents.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )