From Complexity to Order

Globalization and new technologies make people’s lifestyle more complex and dynamic. As a result of it, the issue of order occurs. David Weinberger at his book “Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder” raises the issue of complexity and order of order concepts in modern world. I think Weinberger could nicely say his main idea in a sentence “The world started out miscellaneous but it didn’t stay that way, because we work so damn at straightening it up.” (P. 10) In other words our world becomes very complex nowadays and people strive to transform complexity into order. The author connects many of his thoughts with this idea.  Reading these chapters I agree with the author that complexity exists and I think that people inevitably will strive to change complexity to order so that they could save time to succeed in this complicated world. To show how people can adapt to new challenges of modern world, I would like to focus on how Weinberger shows the way from complexity to order analyzing first and third chapters of the book.

Using an example of iTunes store of Apple Inc., Weinberger shows how complexity may be organized in a certain order. In the third chapter the author comes again to this idea, providing an example of Amazon Inc., to show how geography of knowledge works. Digital geography of knowledge, possible and more effective ways of organization and control of information, is used to demonstrate its advantages in comparison with the Mevil Dewey’s method which implies the organization of information and staff by subjects. However, both methods are assumed to use a certain criteria. For example, when we organize our digital pictures by a sequence of events or by special categories, we are guided by criteria. When a librarian organizes books by subjects so browsers and people who know what they are looking for could find necessary information quickly, he/she also is guided by a certain criteria. Thereby, Weinberger shows that one of the ways of transforming complexity to order is organization by criteria even though it is hard to find. At this point the author could find connection between digital and traditional geography of knowledge even though their effectiveness is absolutely different.

Weinberger emphasizes the importance of technological progress. When he mentions the Bettmann’s collection of images bought by Bill Gates and Corbis’s collection of over four million digital images, Weinberger demonstrates how technologies change the way people think, organize, and control information. The author says “the solution to the overabundance of information is more information.” (P. 13) It means that short descriptions of existing information is able to facilitate the search of information and its control. At the same time, the author says that if new technologies allow the mixture of different subjects, people complain of inadmissible combination of some information. For example, the Sunnis and the Shiites are displeased because their religious books were put into the same shelves. Then, we can say that both systems are not perfect. Moreover, new approach of miscellaneous way of organization some information is not for everyone. However, if we take into account more pragmatic point of view, then we can say that the easier and faster people can organize, control, and search for information, the less time, money, and efforts are needed. Thereby, this approach fully satisfies the requirements of the modern world even though problems still occur. If we look at the complaints from democratic point of view, digital geography of knowledge should be modified. If it categorizes religious subjects separately from other subjects, for example, people’s feelings and values won’t be hurt. Therefore, new technologies open new opportunities, but there is the issue of time and resources.

Finally, even though modern world raises new challenges of ways we organize, control and search for information, there are several ways how complexity can be turned to a relative order. However, we shouldn’t forget that the new approaches are not for everyone. Therefore, all opinions should be count and possible changes should be made. One of those modifications is combination of digital and the Dewey’s approaches.


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