Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We have all heard the cynical and discouraging saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I believe this to be especially relevant to the first question that we had on the quiz last week. Rather than putting down Garrett Hardin as the answer to question number one, I put down Adam Smith. The question asked for the author of Tragedy of the Commons and the year it was published. Having read the article, I do not feel that asking the authors name and the year it was published is the best way to see if we retained the contents of the article. This question is geared towards those who skimmed rather than those who read the article. Had I skimmed the article, I would have taken note of some key points and used buzzwords to prove that I completed my homework. Alas, I more ethical than that. I instead read the entire article and focused on the content rather than the superfluous details such as who wrote it. I thought to myself, “is it more in my interests and the interests of academics around the world to know the name of the author or to understand the concept and be able to apply it to the ecology and habitats of the harbor I know and love?” My friends, the choice was simple. I do not regret reading the article, I do not regret taking the time to become knowledgeable on the subject, and I most certainly do not regret skipping over the name of the author. The only thing I regret is that we sadly live in a world where the knowledge one possesses is not enough, a world where reading cliff notes is a substitute for the great works of Shakespeare and Twain, a world where merely knowing the author of an article can be the difference between a passing grade and an extraordinary grade. My quiz answers demonstrated that I read the article. I reconstructed Hardin’s argument and provided an in depth explanation. However, that was not enough. I believe that we should live in a world where it’s not who you know but rather what you know. A world where learning is not simply a means to an end but rather the gateway to new beginnings. Classmates, help me make that world a reality. All of you who think I should get that one “incorrect” question on my quiz reversed, please comment with the word YES below. All those who want to destroy the tradition of learning forever, please comment NO below.


Mike Fallon said...


Bruce Berman said...

Um, Mike - context matters. It is hard to judge the context w/o knowing when the article was written, or by whom it was written - or actually what the author said about the subject.

Still, a brilliant little essay - though more in the tradition of Sam Adams than Darwin. I vote yes.