September 10, 2020
"Information is everything. We are what we read"
This week I read the introduction to Richard Saul Wurman's book, Information Anxiety. Wurman poetically describes a society that lacks creativity as being connected to knowledge. He obsessively observes how people process data in the society we currently live in, where we are taught not to look or sound stupid, so instead, we all have carried on with a fake sense of knowledge. We all nod every day, in unison, almost hypnotically to each reference, system, interaction, lesson, or question. Wurman says we are faking it essentially. While reading, I couldn't help but think of the phrase "Fake it until you make it", which I've heard over and over, and even mentioned by one of my favorite designers.
Wurman also discusses the word curiosity. As sad as it sounds, I never hear the word curiosity anymore. It's as if it has vanished from our minds and instead we seek out other words in the creative field, ones that make us appear smarter or more professional. Wurman is right down to every single point. He says designers don't develop or create meaning anymore, their purpose is to make things better. As I reflected on his words, they made me feel somewhat sad, because I recognized truth in his words. His viewpoint is a little grim for my taste, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I had little to disagree with his observations.
Lastly, he discussed how he organizes all information into five different categories: location, alphabet, time, category, and hierarchy.
Information Anxiety by Richard Saul Wurman
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