2012-03-12

What is Wisdom?

Perm URL with updates: http://xahlee.org/comp/Paul_Graham_keynote_PyCon_2012.html

What is Wisdom?

Have you heard of Taoism? Like, “best action is no action”? And “imagination is more important than knowledge”? Wisdom are typically vague, and take interpretation and context. Surely, if your house is on fire, the best action is not do nothing, right? Or, then, perhaps the “no action” actually mean “natural action”, or “efficient action”, or “effortless action”?? If, we can choose only one between “imagination” and “knowledge”, which one is more likely to get you a space shuttle? “Thou Shall Not Steal”, is a great wisdom, but have it stopped or reduced stealing in the entire human history? (SOPA anyone?)

There are lots wisdoms, but they can't make nuclear reactor or bomb, no x-ray, no neuro-science, DNA, no cure for cancer.

These days, there's tons of shallow articles carrying lofty titles such as “Why Apple Will Fail”, “How to be the Next Google”, “How Facebook Will Kill Google”, “Why Universities is Doomed”, “everything you know is WRONG, because the internet is here!!!”.

The content of Paul's talk, the first part, seems to be like that. Shallow, over generalization, hip sans substance. “Be the next Apple”? “Google search is so bad now”? Sure we already knew that. Half of his “great startup ideas” seems to be mere rephrasing of “be the next Google” with lots of chuckles in between. Of course, he can afford to do that, and people will listen to him, not because what he said actually made a lot sense, but because he was successful.

These days, there's lots of talks by celebrities. This is the first time i see Paul. But in comparison of other well known figures in programing community, i find this presentation by Paul rather at the bottom. The Q & A session i find him shown his intelligence much more.