A story

I'm attempting to come out, establish my identity out there. Here's a retelling of a story which I consider really important. I wish I could find the original, I try periodically, no luck.

It was told as being a description of an actual event.

A researcher was administering evaluation exams to members of an Indian Nation, I think it was in the southwest. Exams like SAT, meant to determine knowledge level.

The researcher passed out the exams, said he'd be back to check progress in 1/2 hour.

Upon his return, he was shocked to find everyone in the room discussing the questions, comparing answers.

"This is all wrong, you are cheating, the purpose of this test is to determine what each one of you knows, you MAY NOT talk to each other during this test."

The next time he checked in, he found the examinees making paper airplanes from the tests, telling jokes, they had abandoned any pretense of taking the test.

The examiner asked what was going on.

"What your requested makes no sense, has no meaning. You don't understand how knowledge works. Knowledge is held by our community, not by individuals. Your interest in individual knowledge is foolish and we won't participate"

An analogy might be a contest among pianists, they are only allowed to use one finger. Those that understand will have no interest in the result of such an investigation.

This is from the same culture which honors giveaways, the quality of one's gifts determining level of respect, not the amount one accumulates.

I think these are principles which are taking on new life in the infoworld. Cooperation and collaboration are being valued over competition. The open source world is a gift culture.

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