Be bold and subjective

existential-importance.pngStan James, Founder and CTO of Boulder, Co. based startup Lijit has this wonderful post on subjectivity of the Web in his blog.  He contrasts the relative purposefulness of objective reality (facts of logic, math equations) with subjective shades of grey (my friends care, aspects of self esteem) that are much more vital to our existence.  I’ve hardly come across another well articulated post on one of my own internal convictions.  I would’ve someday made a horrible post on the subject, but Stan saved me from that embarrassment and my few readers, the trouble.  Excerpts –  

“Paris is the capital of France. Your friends care about you.

Both statements are probably true, right? But one statement is more objective, more verifiable. The other statement is more important to you, more meaningful to your life. You can find evidence for one statement in Wikipedia and the other in Facebook.

Many years ago in a college class about Soren Kiekegaard, the professor explained how Soren said there was an inverse relationship between certainty and existential importance. I drew a graph (find it in Stan’s post) to help me remember.

On one extreme you have the facts of logic and mathematics; ultimately provable and objective, but not at all important to me as an individual existing human being.  This is the realm of logic.  On the other extreme is my eternal happiness; ultimately important to me, but not at all provable or objective. This is the realm of faith. (In the middle lie facts of science and history, childhood memories, and whether my wife loves me.) Soren was arguing against Christian apologetics, but I’ve found myself going back to this model lately when thinking about Wikipedia, Google, Facebook, and the evolution of the web.” [Hat tip : Ben Casnocha]   

I’ve posted my comment under that post by Stan that I reproduce here.   

I think of my own subjective desires that are so central to my existence that often doesn’t get immediately approved by others around me. Yet I persist, on the realm of my conviction, stimulated by the higher probability of positive outcome that only the dreamer inside me could sense at present. The outside world is far more receptive to net result and cold logic, which does not always contribute to resolution of the existential question or simply, why we are born.” .

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2 Responses to “Be bold and subjective”

  1. Stan James Says:

    Hi Krishna, glad you liked the post! The positive response has gotten me thinking more about this. Kierkegaard put religion as the most subjective of all. If that’s the direction the web is headed, does that mean we’ll see something like web-as-religion? Some people already treat Facebook that way. 🙂

  2. Krishna Says:

    Web as a religion would be wonderful if it comes all spruced up and sanitized minus the rigidities associated with fundamentalism prevalent in conventional religions. But its wider adoption (that vouches for inclusiveness) would depend very much on the web itself manifesting as a true cloud, accessibel to all – in an ubiquitous form – outside the realm of expensive hardware.

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