Bob Higgins

Dropping Knowledge? Knowledge Droppings?

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on July 1, 2006

If you could gather one hundred or so of the best minds on the planet and serve them a list of questions compiled from “ordinary people” all over the world what might you expect from such a gathering?

We may find out soon because according to the emails I’ve been receiving from a group called “dropping knowledge” just such a meeting is in the works:

On September 9, 2006, 112 scientists, social entrepreneurs, philosophers, writers, artists and activists from around the world will come together in Berlin, Germany, as guests of dropping knowledge. Seated around a vast round-table in the heart of the city, these remarkable individuals, renowned for the creative, social and humanistic impact of their work, will engage with 100 questions from the global public. These questions, selected by dropping knowledge’s founders and ambassadors from the many thousands generated by our “What’s Your Question?” campaign, will reflect the topics of greatest concern to the global public, emphasize under-reported issues and engage key themes endorsed by dropping knowledge in 2006.

I have been asked by email on several occasions to supply a question for the consideration of this august body, the idea is a bit intimidating as I’m not sure who they are. From the website they put up in concert with another group called “Allianz” I learned the following:

dropping knowledge is an intercultural platform for social change, open to every citizen of the world. Sustained by a global network of individuals, institutions, corporations and NGOs, dropping knowledge is committed to heightening social awareness, encouraging multiple perspectives, fostering a global dialog and inspiring real-world initiatives.

I’m not sure what that statement means but it sounds vaguely like corporatese for saying nothing at all which is what you’d expect of someone speaking from multiple perspectives.

Multiple perspectives? I get a little dizzy just thinking about it, reminds me a little of an experience I had when I went to an op-art exhibit after a two chili dog lunch. The only real world initiative inspired by that was a social awareness that I badly need a barf bag.

I don’t mean to make light of this project because someone is spending an enormous amount of time, energy and great piles of money to bring all these sage personages together:

With offices in Berlin, New York and San Francisco, dropping knowledge operates as an international non-governmental organization with 100 percent stakeholder perspective. A public resource, it cannot be owned and is freely accessible to all, for all time.

One cynical question would be; who’s paying the bills for all these offices and what about the giant table they intend to sit at:

33 metres in diameter, 103 in circumference, the Table of Free Voices incorporates a camera and microphone into each of its 112 places, allowing the complete responses of every Nominee to be recorded and catalogued as an individually searchable audiovisual portrait. The seed-material of dropping knowledge’s online Archive, the estimated 672 hours of content generated at the Table will be transcribed, translated into multiple languages and made freely accessible over the Internet.

These guys are good. How do they know in advance that it’s going to take 672 hours to answer a bunch of questions they haven’t seen yet unless they’re using the same techniques Dick Cheney used to get us embroiled in a Civil War in Iraq. Dick starts with the answers and works backwards, but I digress.

I’m a cabinetmaker by trade and I guess one question I’d like to ask is who do I need to see to put in a bid on building that table? I could retire on that baby. That’s a big damn table.

From what I’ve been able to glean from the limited information offered, the central focus of this project is environmental. The website mentions such things as global warming, pollution, renewable energy and a litany of other issues that need to be addressed. That is all to the good and asking for questions from the audience is always a good idea, as they say:

Asking questions is fundamental to the practice of dropping knowledge. There is no better way to initiate a dialogue than with a question, no better way to challenge conventional thinking, discover new viewpoints and stimulate fresh ideas. To promote the practice of questioning, dropping knowledge has launched an international Internet, print and TV-based “What’s Your Question?” outreach campaign, encouraging individuals, communities and organizations around the globe to submit the questions that matter to them to our website. Every day one question is visualized on the front page of our site as a ‘daily question ad’ to be downloaded, linked to other sites and emailed across the globe.

Well, I guess I’ve already asked a few questions, haven’t I?

Who are these guys?

Who’s financing the project?

Who are the 112 geniuses that will be seated at the “table of free voices?”

How did they arrive at 672 hours to answer a question I have yet to ask?

How do I get in a bid on the big damn table job?

Is Dick Cheney involved in this? At any level? Promise?

Seriously it would be wonderful if the smartest guys in the world could sit down in September at the mother of all conference tables and answer the questions that would

End the human slaughter of war

End the human misery of hunger

End the human degradation of poverty

End the abuses of human rights in all countries

End the exploitation of the poor by the wealthy

End the wanton destruction of human habitat, the Earth.

That would be the most successful, indeed the mother of all pointy headed seminars.

I’m going to encourage our readers at Worldwide Sawdust to send these guys some more questions. To ask your question visit their website

Don’t forget to ask about Cheney.

Bob Higgins

Worldwide Sawdust

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