The Analog Alternative...

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Location: Bangalore, India

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Fortunate Accidents

Sheer “serendipity” it was, that I stumbled upon these arguable and linked musings.
Needless to mention, which one I concur with… actually with both of them, in one way or the other.
They defy each other, yet the essence is so beautiful and captivating.

Think about the library. Do people browse anymore? We can target what we want, thanks to the Internet. Put a couple of key words into a search engine and you find - with an irritating hit or miss here and there - exactly what you're looking for. It's efficient, but dull. You miss the time-consuming but enriching act of looking through shelves, of pulling down a book because the title interests you, or the binding. Inside, the book might be a loser, a waste of the effort and calories it took to remove it from its place and then return. Or it might be a dark chest of wonders, a life-changing first step into another world, something to lead your life down a path you didn't know was there…
Technology undercuts serendipity. It makes it possible to direct our energies all in the name of saving time. Ironically, though, it seems that we are losing time - the meaningful time we once used to indulge ourselves in the related pleasures of search and discovery. We're efficient, but empty.” - William McKeen
Thanks to the connective nature of hypertext, and the blogosphere's exploratory hunger for finding new stuff, the web is the greatest serendipity engine in the history of culture. It is far, far easier to sit down in front of your browser and stumble across something completely brilliant but surprising than it is walking through a library looking at the spines of books…
Serendipity is not randomness, not noise. It's stumbling across something accidentally that is nonetheless of interest to you. The web is much better at capturing that mix of surprise and relevance than book stacks or print encyclopedias.” - Steve Johnson

Despite of being a curmudgeon gainsayer of all beliefs in *supernatural*, *unexplained* and “Cannot-be-seen” phenomena, I have always believed in destiny.
I hope spirituality was lesser allied to devoutness. They are two different philosophies but are often tied up together.

In my opinion, ‘serendipity’ is bound to happen (or is bound not to). Doesn’t matter whether you are shuffling pages and pulling books in a library, or you are googling keywords and clicking hyperlinks. Probabilities might vary with circumstantial, environmental and local forces, and I strongly believe that with the increasing amount of available data, and the rate at which various forms of communities are blowing up within the www, stat-graphs are pointing in the right direction. Nonetheless, fortunate accidents are never likely or unlikely; they are just accidental, by design.


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