Conjecture 11: Fatal irrelevance
Question: which fact on your company disappeared out of sight, to your dismay, from our collective memory?
Back to the Battle of Nieuwpoort. Why thís Battle, that only lasted for a couple of hours? Look at the video of Conjecture 9 in which all the battles of the Eighty Year War are summed up and you will notice that even there this particular Battle is forgotten (or dismissed). Didn’t anything else happen in the year 1600, in the remaining 8750 hours? Or in the year 1599, or the year 1601? Of course there did. There is one thing for sure: all the other events did not make it to our day. For certain is also that many facts, including those from that same epoque, are accounted for. Certainly, many of the millions and millions of facts and events, let only on a worldly scale and let alone throughout history, but a few make it to our current collective memory. Non of the other facts. They die an inglorious death, as if they had never occurred. This means that henceforth, we are no longer able to notice these facts.
Not just because we live some 400 years later, but also because we don’t know what we don’t know. We can in some way realize we don’t know what happened in 1601, but still we wouldn’t know to look for, who to ask or what to ask. Without direction we cannot see or perceive. The answer to the question what we do perceive is as simple as complicated. The Monkey Business Illusion (see also Conjecture 8) is a first condition to put facts to the fore: a fact is only a fact when we are told what is perceivable. That is conditional to be noticed. But can we handle just the description of a phenomenon or event? To keep an event alive, a minimum of added meaning is the next condition. Such as calling a bunch of people on the beach or in the mountains ‘a nest of pirates’. At the very least this adds some meaning. Anno 2015 even that piece of meaning vanished. So in order for a fact to survive, one has to work constantly on this meaning and keeping this meaning alive, else the even the skeleton of facts such as the time, the place, the event and the players become meaningless. With such a diminished meaning, the fact is back to square one: it’s a fact and nothing more. This is the beginning of the era of fatal irrelevance. The Battle Nieuwpoort will remain somewhere, but without further monitoring and maintenance, will eventually disappear from our collective memory.
Facts and understanding therefore are tremendously important. They form the starting point of much communication and growing opinions. But they are also problematic, because what is a fact and according to whom? Because of the fundamentals and the difficult character of facts we’ll linger on some more on the subject. In 21 Principles.
Tomorrow Principle 1: loose facts have no meaning
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