Thirty one (ii)

“Yes. I guess. Until we caught up again.”

“So information by itself, in isolation, cannot be adjudged useful or useless. Such potential must depend, at least in part, on the availability of other data, of other information, on existing knowledge, on the resources available to process the information.”

I recall holding my breath momentarily before sighing audibly.

I’m a History graduate for goodness sake, and I should have recognized what Dom was saying before he had to say it. While my college days seem like a lifetime ago, the process of historical discovery, organization and interpretation is as relevant to present circumstances as past, including the foibles of those processes. For example, reconciling attitudes, societal norms and behaviors in Victorian London demands putting oneself in the shoes of a Victorian Londoner; after all, they didn’t view their lives through the lens of an early 21st Century historian, or make decisions or conduct themselves on that basis.

And yet of course each historian studying that time and place will have constructed slightly different frameworks of varying accuracy and subjectivity as proxy for them not actually being there. In short, historians will disagree, or must work hard to align frameworks, to align knowledge, in order to understand and debate different historical points of view.

Turns out my History degree could be rather useful in this age of computing and big data.