There is a danger to search

If you've been following the latest Five Questions interview series - and if you haven't watched them, do so right after reading this post - you may have heard IdeaFestival 2013 speaker and Technology Review editor Jason Pontin reference the digital critic Nicholas Carr.

Here's a January entry by Carr at American Public Media's Marketplace on how "search" means something much different than it once did.

When we talk about 'searching' these days, we're almost always talking about using Google to find something online.

That’s a big change for a word that long carried existential connotations -- a word that had been bound up in our sense of what it meant to be human. We didn’t just search for car keys or missing socks. We searched for truth, for meaning, for transcendence. Searching was an act of exploration that took us out into the world, beyond ourselves, in order to know the world, and ourselves, more fully.

On his blog he writes that "a true search is as essential as it is dangerous."

I love that idea.

The searches at the IdeaFestival are as much about meaning as they are answers, and the danger, such as it is, is strictly personal. That's good. Because while the questions at the festival are often thought provoking, difficult, even, the rewards are worth the effort: the answers your find will always be yours.

Stay curious.


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