Tag Archives: Travelling

The Risk of Forgotten Knowledge

What is the most important thing in your possession right now? What would the implications be if you were to lose it?

Yesterday, I took a flight to Colorado. This is the first time I’ve been to the USA since 2008, and the first time I’ve travelled abroad for work. I am a little nervous, which doesn’t help the fact I am naturally a paranoid traveller. I am the sort of person who checks every minute that I have not lost anything. I will panic if I put my passport in the wrong pocket of my coat or bag and can’t find it later.

While waiting at the airport for the shuttle bus, we noticed a discarded pair of glasses. We all wear glasses so understand how essential they are. This then led to a discussion of what is most important, and what item we’d be most devastated about losing.

I’ve purposefully not taken anything sentimental with me on this trip so I don’t have to worry about losing these. Glasses are an obvious answer, but I have brought a spare pair so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I lost these. I am not overly attached to my phone either, phones can be replaced and any photos on it have been backed up. Losing my passport would be problematic, but arrangements can be made to get me home safely at the end of my trip. There are items in my possession which losing would bring me a great deal of hardship. In most cases this could be fixed, not always easily but things will get better.

There is something I would be devastated to lose and could never be replaced with any kind of money. My notebooks, one of which includes notes from the UKSTAR conference I attended last week. I still haven’t written up or analysed all my notes from the talks. This is knowledge that is currently only stored in two places, my notebook and in my memory. Memories fade. This has already started as it has been a week now.

Knowledge is not just information, it is a representation of our own personal experiences and interpretations of that information. It will differ from person to person, but each person will develop new and different ideas. New ideas develop into new knowledge.

Knowledge is the most important possession we have and must be shared for two reasons. So that others can learn and develop new ideas from it and so that it is not lost and forgotten, even if the original source has not been preserved.

While on my trip I will be continuing my write ups of my UKSTAR conference notes which will be shared in a series of blog posts. I’ve also completed several tasks on the 30 days of testing challenge but have not yet completed the write ups. The next ‘what I read last week’ post will be published on Sunday. I didn’t do must reading last week because of the conference and preparing for my trip to Colorado.

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