Thursday, June 08, 2006

We set Satan's SNA tastes. Ew!

[Newcomers to my blog may want to start with this welcome post.]

Kevin Kelly's wonderful article "Scan This Book" launched an interesting and cautionary letter-writing campaign to the NY Times. My favorite letter is this one, by Joseph Fitzer of La Grange, Ill.
"Kelly has mixed together two articles, one that deals thoughtfully with issues of copyright law and one that attempts to revive the medieval, Faustian dream of latching on to a divine knowledge of the universe."
I am too busy keeping up with email to have read anything about medieval history, so I started googling and discovered that Faust, a play written by Goethe, is one of history's seminal stories of a man selling his soul to the Devil.

What does the story's protagonist, Faust, desire above all else? Universal knowledge. In exchange for that, he gives Satan his eternal servitude. (Are my KM colleagues reading this? Your consulting fees are ridiculously low by comparison.)

You can read a translation of the deal going down here, in a scene that nicely dramatizes the tension between human desires for visceral experience and intellectual knowledge. Then, for a good follow-up, read Genesis 2:17 (that's from the Bible, a book I did actually learn about before Google), in which God himself says: "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it; for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die."

Did I mention that Connectedness was Blogger.com's blog of the day on 06-06-06? That's enough to make even the most devout believers in the holy trinity of SNA start to wonder.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License and is copyrighted (c) 2006 by Connective Associates except where otherwise noted.

10 comments:

Africannabis said...

Stranger things in life... but the pick of the day on the day...

That's got to earn at least 6 points ;)

I have loved what I have read so far... I have much more to read that I look forward to on this blog.

My blog, (is not such a good news read), but with the Connectedness ideas...

I look forward to learning, and resolving!

Jane Lake said...

Satan is bad! Just ignore him.

Annie said...

A coincidence - I think not.

Steffen Mazanek said...

Bruce, I guess you are the very first linking the FreeBSD operating system with social network analysis - at least by the nice picture of the daemon (not satan!) chuck, who is really not very evil :-) and by the way the official logo of FreeBSD.

Ciao,
Steffen
informatik-praxis.blogspot.com

Bruce Hoppe said...

Thanks to Steffen's tip, I have updated linked the picture of Chuck the Daemon to http://www.unixprogram.com/churchofbsd/

Peter Matthes said...

This is not a coincidence.

You truly are the devil ... and apparently he wears lime green high top sneakers.

Jim Murphy said...

Faust is a modern epic poem, not a play.

Jammu said...

Nice blog!

Grokodile said...

Hmm, I don't know, whenever something starts to work, everybody jumps on board, and then it goes straight to hell.

Nevermind.

Narcosis said...

If you liked Faust, try Christopher Marlowe's The Tradgical History of Dr. John Faustus, a play from the Middle English time period that presents the scenario of the thirst for knowledge much better in my opinion, anyways, glad I checked out your blog. You might also like lifehack.org as well