He aquí los pensamientos aleatorios de un epistemólogo andante.

I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.

피할수 없는 고통이라면 차라리 즐겨라

As of June, 2013, I have assumed a new identity: I am a cancer survivor. "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

"A blog, in the end, is really not so different from an inscription on a bone: I was here, it declares to no one in particular. Don't forget that." - Justin E. H. Smith

재미없으면 보상해드립니다!

"All things are enchained with one another, bound together by love." - Nietzsche (really!)

Leviticus 19:33-34

Donc, si Dieu existait, il n’y aurait pour lui qu’un seul moyen de servir la liberté humaine, ce serait de cesser d’exister. - Mikhail Bakunin

Solvitur ambulando.

"Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to soliloquize. Where was I?" - the villain Heinz Doofenshmirtz, in the cartoon Phineas and Ferb.

"Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error." - Linus Pauling

Blogging online since 1965

Who Is Jared?

  • My name is Jared Way. I was born in rural Far Northern California, and became an "adoptive" Minnesotan. I have lived in many other places: Mexico City, Philadelphia, Valdivia (Chile), Los Angeles. And for 11 years, I was an expatriate living in South Korea. In the summer of 2018, I made another huge change, and relocated to Southeast Alaska, which is my uncle's home.
  • For many years I was a database programmer, with a background in Linguistics and Spanish Literature. In Korea, worked as an EFL teacher.
  • In June, 2013, while I was in Ilsan in South Korea, I was diagnosed with cancer, and underwent successful treatment. That changed my life pretty radically.
  • Currently, you could say I'm "between jobs," somewhat caretaking my uncle (to the extent he tolerates that) and getting adapted to life in rural Alaska after so many years as an urban dweller.
  • These bloggings, then, have been my random jottings on the subject of my mostly pleasant life among the Quasi-Confucian Cyber-Industrial Paleolithic Peninsulites of Lower Far Siberia.
  • I started this blog before I even had the idea of going to Korea (first entry: Caveat: And lo...). So this is not meant to be a blog about Korea, by any stretch of the imagination. But life in Korea, and Korean language and culture, inevitably have come to play a central role in this blog's current incarnation.
  • Basically, this blog is a newsletter for the voices in my head. It keeps everyone on the same page: it has become a sort of aide-mémoire.
  • For a more detailed reflection on why I'm blogging, you can look at this old post: What this blog is, and isn't.
  • If you're curious about me, there is a great deal of me here. I believe in what I call "opaque transparency" - you can learn almost everything about me if you want, but it's not immediately easy to find.
  • A distillation of my personal philosophy (at least on good days):
    I have made the realization that happiness is not a mental state. It is not something that is given to you, or that you find, or that you can lose, or that can be taken from you. Happiness is something that you do. And like most things that you do, it is volitional. You can choose to do happiness, or not. You have complete freedom with respect to the matter.
  • "Ethical joy is the correlate of speculative affirmation." - Gilles Deleuze (writing about Spinoza).

My Life Online

  • Like most people, I spend a lot of time online, although I try to limit it somewhat. Here is a somewhat-annotated list of the "places" where I spend time online.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Knowledge and News
  • "Social Media"
    • I don't really "do" social media. I have a membership at Facebookland but I never log in there. I don't like it.
    • I have a membership at The Youtubes but I mostly use it for work. I also listen to music on youtube, frequently - I prefer it to typical streaming services, for example.
  • Humor and Cat Videos
  • A Diversity of Blogs - I read these a lot.
  • Blogs of people I actually know
  • Geofiction - this has evolved into a significant "hobby" for me. I like to draw imaginary maps, and there is a website that has enabled this vice.
    • I worked as a volunteer administrator for the site OpenGeofiction on and off for a few years. I created (but no longer maintain) the site's main wiki page: OGF Wiki. I am not currently working as administrator but I remain active on the site.
    • The above work has required my becoming an expert in the Openstreetmap system. Openstreetmap is an attempt do for online maps what wikipedia has done for encyclopedias. I have considered becoming an openstreetmap contributor, but I feel that my current location in Korea hinders that, since I don't have a good grasp Korean cartographic naming conventions.
    • Starting in April, 2018, I decided somewhat capriciously to build my own "OGF stack" on my own server. This was not because I intended to abandon the OGF site, but rather because I wanted to better understand the whole architecture and all its parts. I built a wiki on the Mediawiki platform (the same as wikipedia). This wiki has no content. I built a map tileserver and geospatial database, which contains a very low resolution upload of an imaginary planet called Rahet. And I built a wordpress blog, which is a separate, low-frequency blog intended to focus on my geofictional pursuits rather than this more personalized, general purpose blog. All of these things can be found integrated together on my rent-a-server, here: geofictician.net
  • TEFL - my "profession," such as it is.

October 2018

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Long Time Blogging


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The problem with this proposition is that "specific" knowledge has become very, very cheap. We are not in the Middle Ages anymore, when it was rare, hard to obtain, and valuable. Ever since the rise of mass publishing, the value of "directly taught knowledge" has decreased, and it is now at what was just a few decades ago an unimaginable-low with the Internet.

Say I want to know about the Yazidi (ethnic?-)religious group of the Middle East. In the distant past before Gutenberg, let's say six hundred years ago (1410s), we might presume that a a handful of Europeans living knew some about that group, say people with extensive travels in the Middle East. There must've been a few, even if I could count them on my fingers. So, I, as the prospective desirer of information, would have to find these people and learn from them directly, as pre-Gutenberg they were unlikely to produce any books on the subject, and I was unlikely to have access to it even if such a book were somehow written, and I was unlikely to read the language in which it was written (in fact,I'd have been unlikely to read any language). So if I could track down a Yazidi expert in Europe, I might just find one at a university somewhere. I would have to have the means to attend the university and attend this man's lectures, and so on. The chance of a 1410s version of you or I ending up with any knowledge of Yazidis would've been near zero, and if it came would've surely come from information taught by a single expert I was fortunate enough to find.

Leap ahead three centuries to the 1710s, when printing was more well established. Given good enough access to materials, I could track down a book on the Islamic World or something and find out what I can about Yazidis. In the 1710s, it's getting a bit easier to learn about them -- Still very difficult, but given the will and the way, it's no longer really "zero" as it was in the 1410s. 1810s: More books available, better chance still. 1910s: Same, and the rise of Encyclopedias has made information easier than ever.

By the 1960s, the huge rise in libraries has made any (literate) citizen a wealthy Western society have a near 100% by now to learn something about Yazidis, if the want to. The curious need only the ability to get to a library with a decent Encyclopedia set. More in-depth accounts are also readily available (and with Interlibrary loans, perhaps any library will do) in books on the Middle East which discuss its minor religions. Suddenly, the value of "taught knowledge" from a teacher is low. The knowledge from an hour or two in a decent 1960s library will probably be much broader and better than what a professor may or may not know on the subject.

Now back to the present the 2010s. We hear about Yazidis in the news, and through an Internet-enabled device (not even a desktop computer, anymore, of course) within minutes we can get information that may have been: impossible in a lifetime in the 1410s; taken many years of difficulty until the rise of libraries; still taken a substantial effort and some difficulty with the rise of libraries; but today is free and easy. Now only the effort to overcome laziness and click around a little bit on the Internet is required.

In light of this, we can say that "teaching information" has a lower value than ever in the 2010s. The educational model that stresses a teacher imparting information (presumably via lecturing) is as highly antiquated as massacres of heretics in the name of the One True Religion. Of course, both systems still exist in spots in today's world for complicated reasons, perhaps more as proxies for other things (e.g., religious fighting often masks ethnic conflict, as in South Sudan and Sri Lanka and so on).

But on "direct teaching of knowledge": If knowledge is cheap, as it clearly is for the rich today, what *is* the value of a teacher? What the Internet and so on cannot "teach" is curiously and analytical thinking; the kind of mind that cares to look up information about the Yazidis (or about any subject). Will Yazidis be on The Test? No. In that case, it's the deepest kind of foolishness to bother looking up anything about them.

The general Korean belief in the primacy of "teachers imparting knowledge" probably coincides with the common belief that robots will replace teachers soon (a Korean student once told me what he saw as the two worst careers: "postal worker" and "teacher". I asked why. He said because both would be replaced totally by robots in coming years). If a teacher is just a knowledge-delivering automaton, why *not* replace it with a steel-framed version that requires no pay and no sleep?

I agree with Peter on the availability of knowledge. However to acquire that knowledge requires being able to read, and as he mentioned, being able to discern truth from error.

So I would say that they teacher's job is to teach reading and language and analytical thinking... which very few unfortunately know how to do. They also need to teach math, although being able to read well does make even acquiring that discipline decidedly easier!

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