The Importance of Knowledge And How It Evolves
June 28th, 2022


Intertribal communication and sharing of different skills opens the door to larger population aggregation, from tribes to cities to countries to empires. Let’s look at how knowledge evolves and transferred as time passes. All in all, we aim to become a more knowledgeable person.


Even without a civilization, the importance of knowledge is highlighted. Parent birds step a short distance away from their nest, encouraging their young to fly once they are ready to. Perhaps they might hit hard on the ground for a few times; but with practice and instinct, they get to fly sooner or later. Kittens could learn from their parents how to hunt faster, or try and fail many times on their own. Some knowledge are culture-specific, like chimpanzee populations whom crack nuts! The transfer of knowledge ensure species survival.

Ancient humans evolve from animals, so we expect knowledge to pass down the same way as animals do, via words of mouth and role model. The young follows the elders, learning how to hunt, what is edible, etc at a specific age. Womans learn how to cook and take care of their men and other tribe members from elderly. Though, because there’s no written records, if those who knows dies before passing it down, the knowledge is forever lost. In extreme case, the knowledge might be vital for tribal survival. Maybe it’s the location of dangerous species that impose danger on the tribe; or maybe it’s some places where they could find food. Who knows?


Human evolution makes knowledge inheritance easier. Perhaps the greatest invention is recording in words. Symbols carved in stone understandable by the specific tribe ensure knowledge inheritance even after the elderly dies. It also didn’t rely on memory that could trick us: we could remember wrongly if we don’t recall it everyday. The symbol holds the memory for our ancestors to decipher.

Unlike language today, a single word might have specific meanings. Words today are more general, and could be shuffled and aggregated to mean different things. It’s more general so we can express different meanings with different groups of words. Pupils also don’t need to understand what each words mean, and can learn them in sequences as they associate them with the spoken language. In the early days, words are most probably rigid, meaning lots of things in a single symbol, like “don’t go to the west”. Carving is difficult, so simplicity without the loss of meaning is vital. Plus, they don’t need advanced words, if all they need is passing down knowledge for survival of the tribe.

Though, because words are rigid, it also means it’s more difficult for people to learn such knowledge. If the elderly whom knows how to decipher has not yet taught it to the young, the young might never decipher what the words means.

As tribes grow into cities, plus invention of agriculture, the worrisome of insufficient food and shelter are gone. Ruling classes start exists, and communication are vital. Words allow generally understandable communication if a messenger pass a message from the king to soldiers on the frontline. For longer messages, they may carve it down than rote memorization instead.

Though, early writings are carved on stone or thick manuscripts, not easily transportable. They are more useful for recording down major events and histories than as a messaging means. Archaeologists today, discovering these carvings, could decipher them and understand what happened during that period. Especially if they have more general writing than “many meanings in a single word”, it’s much easier to understand what’s meant in the pass.

Another way of passing down grand events knowledge is via mass word of mouth. Knowledge being held only be a few are much much more likely to be lost; while knowledge that are known by the whole region or even the whole country easily preserve till these days. Otherwise, why do we still celebrate events that first exist centuries to milleniums ago? Though, it’s also true that mythical beast etc are being amplified, perhaps from a small beast to immense creatures that are unbeatable. Heard of the “Chinese Whisper” game? While mass word of mouth can preserve knowledge, memories aren’t totally trustible and get distorted after passing through too many generations. This amplifies the importance of words: that one person speaks and everyone reading from the same writing gets similar meaning, only differs from different interpretation by different readers.


Greater population came greater knowledge, greater separation. Small tribe may contains only knowledge vital for survival; while larger tribe acquires new knowledge that isn’t necessarily for survival, such as music. Rankings came into existence to separate the ruling classes from mundane people. Generally, the ruling classes are considered more knowledgeable than mundane people.

There may be specific people responsible for the passing down of knowledge. Ancient Egypt trained priests to remember the knowledges, and they’re responsible for knowledge heritage. For others, knowledge expands beyond a single person’s capacity. They may only learn partial information that they’re interested in, such as farming; while others learn other knowledges, like music and history. Still, others learn medicine and treatment which not everyone is skilled at. No one could learn every single knowledge.

Recording of information are still expensive, with bamboo books in China being heavy and words-restrictive. It can only record this much information. To record as much information as possible, a single word still contains many meanings compared to words today. And the weight of bamboo books restrict teachings and messenger to oral teachings at least most of the times. Bamboo books remains in “libraries”, and record still only the most important information. Though, if there are required to practice writings, they might have used water to write on woods/rocks/tables, or maybe just stick writing on dirt/sand; something that’s easily erasable.

Different levels of education exists: elementary education for the many, advanced education (including music and archery, or how to rule a country) for ruling classes. Woman learns homemaking and feminine virtues from elder females. Different countries also teaches differently. Some prefers rote learning: the memorization of information; while others prefer liberal learning: flexibility on using existing knowledge. Though, both are useful in different situations; there’s no right or wrong.

And different philosophies collide. In Ancient Greece, different schools of thoughts including Platonist, Aristotelian, Stoic, Epicurean, and Skeptic Philosophies exist. Some exist in different eras of the Roman Empire. Others exist concurrently. Parents could send their children to a specific school of teaching and learn their teachings. Different schools of teaching clashes each other: some have slightly different thoughts, others have totally opposing thoughts. Even the emperor, such as Marcus Aurelius, also acquires a teaching. And as we know with philosophers asking “why”, each generation added new thoughts to the previously known philosophy, and passed down. Knowledge aggregates. In Ancient China, there’s the hundreds school of thoughts during a period with absence of central control. Different philosophers have different ideas on how the world should work, and they fight for their philosophies, trying to prove that they’re right and the others wrong. Or at least, trying to prove that they aren’t wrong. Some philosophies are more adopted by the majority than others; with more students joining. Even farmers have their own philosophies, with teachings on how to best farm and increase yield, learnings on seasonality and weather, etc.

The situation became dire when there’s a central civilization. Provided that their teachings doesn’t weaken a centralized power, they are allowed to exist. If it does, they may be exiled out of the country. In the Qin dynasty, as different philosophies crash and the king himself have preference for certain philosophies; and crashing philosophies may cause rebel to rise, it’s no wonder the king himself announced the burning of books, killing of scholars that doesn’t fit the kings’ taste, resulting in a loss of lots of philosophies and knowledge during the period. A centralized language and wordings were created, as a force for people whom used to be ruled under a different country to forgot about their past countries as they now have a new ruler. Old wordings are banned and illegal to use, seen as rebel if being used, still thinking of reminiscing their previous country after rebelling the current central controls.

Historians try to record the truth of histories despite being tortured when refused to change histories. It’s also unknown that how much information are lost during the recordings. After all, histories are record by historians, and we never know if anyone gave in to tortures, changing histories. And we don’t know if the king orders to burn some of the history pages, leaving only those that doesn’t affect his ruling preserved. Generally, histories that we read today from any countries are passed down by historians, not the general public. Only limited knowledge passed down via mass words of mouth are known to everyone. Even so, there may be propaganda that changed what’s being passed down when general public believes what rulers passed down.

Not all schools are free. Free schools are usually supported by donations or government scholarship. They only teaches the basic of what everyone needs to know. More probably, schools are available only to those that have the time and luxury to attend. If the child needs to help out in the field, they usually don’t have the time to attend school unless they’re dedicated to use their free time to learn: which perhaps isn’t attending formal education but more of self-learning. Otherwise, if parents cannot afford their children to go to school, no school it is. Not everyone could afford to attend school.


As empire evolves, rankings evolve. The splitting of ranks not only incorporate ruling classes and mundane people, but also slaves. Slavery make a human non-human; as “human power” are treated as objects, as machines, to complete objectives given to by their masters. Usually, slaves are made of people whom aren’t very knowledgeable, only wants to have enough food, water, and shelter to survive; or maybe the first generation of slaves are countrymen of losing countries in battles. It doesn’t matter what is being done to them, and what they have to do: as long as they have enough survival items.

For a human to continue living, they need a direction and an objective. Foods that aren’t available to slaves could be prized to the slaves when they did good. Propaganda like getting their children out of slavery may be another hope, even if the hope never comes true. These are the carrots. Propaganday saying slaves are not completely human, only half a human or three-fourth a human spreads among slaves, ensuring they continuously look down on themselves, self-abased that they are never fit for the higher society, that parents of slaves are born to be slaves, and parents of half-slaves are born to be still slaves. Combined with the hatred and societal rejections from normal-ranking people (including those that aren’t slaves but also not from higher rankings) and higher-ranking people, slaves gradually accept that slavery is the norm and they have made themselves slaves and they will forever be slaves. Perhaps once in a long while someone will step up and goes against slavery, demanding their rights as a human; but they’re quickly prosecuted as the “stick” for the rest of the slaves.

Still, slaves may rebel against their king. There was once a story called Battle of Muye. Slaves are treated very badly in Shang Dynasty at that time. Today, we slaughter animals during sacrificial events that we celebrate. If that’s not bloody enough, during Shang Dynasty, slaves are slaughtered during events too! According to this article, sacrificial events ranging from praying for rain, praying to nature gods, praying for successful warring, including building new buildings, all requires slaughtering slaves, treated as we treat animals today slaughtering them. When Shang Dynasty’s was about to end, and rebels of the next dynasty, Zhou, has already fight until Muye. Before the fight, Shang gives their slaves good food and basic weapons so the slaves could be at the front to attract fire, and kill some of the rebel armies before Shang armies have to fight Zhou rebels. Halfway, the slaves (and some captives) aren’t patriotic towards Shang: halfway, they point back their weapons towards Shang’s patriotic armies; and it’s the end of Shang Dynasty.

The importance lies in slaves never be aware that they are non-humane. If they had known, they would rebel and fight for their cause. Awareness usually requires knowledge: and spreading an awareness requires you to be a knowledgeable person for others to trust you. Therefore, laws that refrain slaves from learning ensures they’re never knowledgeable. Higher rankings may communicate in language that slaves couldn’t understand (except body language): how can they be aware if they aren’t knowledgeable?

It’s not totally true. Hellenistic Education does allow slaves to attend schools; and some slaves manages to study to higher education even.

(Opinion) And why do slaves work for long hours? First, owners want to maximize output from their slaves. After all, they bought the slaves to work for them and gain them input. Being greedy, higher-rankings people want to maximize output. Second, putting them fully at work means they don’t have the time to think about themselves. If they’re busy with something all the time, it’s impossible to have their time to think about what they’re actually doing, why they’re actually doing this, and what can they do to make their situations better. As long as they’re not being treated too badly (being caned even if they work), most probably they’ll work through and appreciate they’re in better situation than those being caned, and even appreciate their owners.

Awareness is useful and dangerous. Knowledge makes a human aware. When slaves are aware they are treated badly, and they should be treated fairly, they’ll fight for their cause. No suppression can suppress them after the seed is planted. At the same time, awareness is dangerous. Countries may originally use normal weapons during war; but when one is aware of biological weapons and they could use it without feeling guilty of them, mass destruction arises. Sometimes, pure awareness of something is possible cause destructive effects to the world. At the same time, pure awareness of what’s happening could save the world.

Foreign Education

Emo of Friesland travelled from Northern Holland to study at Oxford University in 1190. This opens the door to foreign education. Education is not limited to a single tribe, not limited to within a single culture, a single country. People can travel to a foreign country and learn other knowledges. Schools welcome foreigners to come and leave their culture and study other peoples’ culture. It’s an exchange of culture, an exchange of knowledge, between two different parties that holds different ideas and knowledge.

Though, it was reserved mostly to the royal elite classes. Most people can’t even afford to study in their home country; what says paying travel fees to travel to other countries plus school fees? Overall, it wasn’t very popular and restrictive. Warring countries usually don’t exchange students. Long-distance travel was restrictive before the 20th century, limiting where students could travel within reasonable period of time.

Countries could achieve peace via two (main) means: ruling under a single empire, or studying their neighbor countries teachings, promote cross-borders, cross-cultural understanding hence reduce conflicts. With support from countries such as granting international students with non-immigrant visas, it allows them to stay in the country to study for a longer period of time. When they finish study, they bring back the knowledge and culture with them, hence trying to share what they learn, slowly making different cultures accepting each other.

We see this after World War II. Lots of countries was annexed during WWII by various countries. Some countries are annexed earlier, by Spanish forces, European forces, etc. But upon scholars returning from foreign countries, particularly those studying in a superpower country, return with the idea of independence. Countries previously a colony to superpowers demanded for independence; some fought through war before achieving independence; others managed to convince their colonizers to achieve independence after a transition period of n years.

Many countries cooperate for studying-abroad programs by exchanging students for a single semester. Others develop programs to fund their students to study abroad, as an encouragement for those who cannot afford it. Due to its superpowers state, Europe was one of the largest go-to, but other countries also started to become popular with different people preferring to study different cultures.

As mentioned in the referenced site:

Student exchange did not solve the world’s problems, but it played a real role in creating a more world-minded outlook on the part of the post-war generation. This reduction of national bias also served to allow this generation to focus on certain crucial problems that cut across national boundaries.

It’s not necessarily for people to gain every single knowledge; but problems like climate change that requires cooperation between nations are more easily solved if people can cooperate with each other across the world.

Still, studying abroad does limit some knowledge spread, usually those that would put their country as a disadvantage, such as military weapons. Example, most military schools are only available to their citizens. Some military schools are available to students from foreign countries, but only limited to certain countries (usually their allies), and have limited number of seats per year. Others like NASA and space companies also have the same restrictions, including who can do an internship in the company. Also, certainly there are knowledge that aren’t taught in school. For example, it’s a good idea not to teach how to make a (hot) weapon in school: as it would put a lot of dangers on the society. And although people teaches about nuclear fusion and fission into details, there aren’t teachings about how nuclear weapons are being made. We could search online for some details; usually just an overview of steps rather than specifics; and usually we can find them on Wikipedia. Overall, knowledge transfers goes through a filter on what they can teach to their students, and what they can teach to international students, or keep for themselves, before teaching them. While the weapon teaching make sense to not share it with others just in case a terrorist acquired the knowledge; others like how to build a space rocket doesn’t always make sense (maybe to prevent people learning how to build a missile; but to prevent people from catching up in the space industry? One doubt.)

International studies not only opened the door to world problems like climate change, but also cross-border problems. As people realized their different in treatment to different race, ethnic origin, age, and/or disability, people started to realize that racism, or generally, a look down from a group of people thinking they’re in a better place or position than another group of people, could cause conflict and hence war. People start fighting against racism and look-downs, LGBTQ, etc, via non-war means like strikes and marches; to convince their country or the world that they have a rights of their own, and they deserve to be treated equally. An exchange of students means mingling with different groups of people, generally to reduce possible conflicts that arises from non-mingling society, and to change the thoughts of people whom are grown up in a family that are more racist to gradually become less racist despite being convinced by their parents racist languages; and change their thoughts as they make friends across borders. Personally, one refuse to speak down on people because of their origin nowadays; despite one used to before studying abroad. That’s one’s experience.

Nowadays, despite the advantages of mingling with foreign students, some prefers to study in their home country. Home universities provide foreign languages learning about other people’s culture, usually teachings brought back by those that studied in foreign countries. Though not extensive, they do provide basic knowledge of what life is like outside their home countries. There pose a difficulty, as one mentioned, on not mingling with foreign students. What’s learned in school isn’t always stay deep inside oneself if one don’t put it into practice. And with intermingling of international students; it puts constant practice of mingling between two tribes, or multiple tribes, into a new group; and the habits stayed with them even after they finished study. Still, some students can’t put down their defense on looking down at others despite existing international teachings. Even when people went overseas, many still prefers to live with people of their home country, stay in small groups with people from their home country; and hence missed out the intermingling opportunities with foreigners. Irregardless, it has been better than previously not learning anything about foreigners: putting us in a much better place to treat people equally nowadays, despite any look-downs we feel for them. Feelings can’t easily go away; but at least we can choose to treat them equally despite our feelings; and slowly dissipates our feelings while we treat them equally for a long time.

The largest opportunity studying overseas is not really what they teach (Physics, etc): you could always learn that online. Ignore the labs, which might be available in your home country. The largest opportunity is learning to make friends with people from all around the world, and a struggle to put down our barriers on racism and look downs on different tribes, to really make friends and know about them, despite the stereotypes we heard classifying them in our home country (and/or from our parents).

To ease understanding across borders, translated works thrive. Some international study requires an extra year of studying their language before you could proceed. That helps you understand from their language point of view; and it helps you communicate with their locals. However, there are so many languages in the world that, if we want to know something written in a foreign language, it’s impossible to always study the language first before learning what we need. We might just need a single paragraph to understand what is being written. Though translation don’t always perfectly preserve the meaning (due to the difference in languages: like there are lots of German words that can’t be expressed in English; similarly for French words, Chinese words, etc), they at least generally allow people to not learn a foreign language just to understand what’s being written, approximately. Translation frees people from necessarily learning a language before approximately understanding what’s used to be taught only in a particular language to be understandable by translating information to their native language.

The Internet

Today, literacy is one measure of success of schools. How many children and adults could read and write in certain languages focused by the school/country? And to how deep a level their understanding and knowledge is? Generally, the internet boom opened the door to cross-border communication without travelling to foreign countries. Though it still lacks the “intermingling” essence of travelling worldwide (believe me; having to speak to people you look down to in front of you is very different from sending them a text message), it facilitates general sharing of information outside attending school.

Traditional schools aren’t always in a good position. Educations haven’t evolved in most countries for the past centuries, still teaching about information from the previous centuries before talking a bit on the cutting edge of technologies nowadays. With internet, though, people get access to cutting edge technologies, research papers, and knowledge shared by people working on the cutting edge via blogs, vlogs, videos, and other means. It makes sense then, to learn something that’s old in school; but to learn something new on the internet.

And the internet opens the door to self-learning. Although not always being appreciated during interviews for work application, and it’s neither officially appreciated by officials, it is one of the most important source of education we have nowadays. With the constant and quick change in world situation, it’s almost impossible to record them down on papers and books anymore. Writing a book in a subject that quickly change, we never know how quickly it’ll goes into deprecation. Blogs and videos now replaces educations: with constantly changing, up-to-date teachings. Though it’s not always arranged in an order we learn in school; they do help us learn a bit here and there, choose what we’re interested in learning, and go deep into the topic. Internet that allows editing facilitates quick changes. With books, we may need to write version 2 version 3; with paper, we may need to write on new paper, and waste lots of paper recording new information and throwing away old information. With the internet, it’s just an “edit” button. We quickly change information if we know what we’ve previously thought true but actually false was written. Saves paper too!

Some countries though, like Finland, caught up with education via an education reform. As of Smartcuts, Schools in Finland now teaches people how to use a platform (like how to perform differentiation on a calculator) rather than the actual study (like mathematics: how to perform differentiation with hands and paper), and they found success. Furthermore, students aren’t jack of all trades; but jack of some trades. Students are allowed to pick a few subjects they’re interested in and study deeper into the subject. It proves that, jack of all trades that touches barely the surface in lots of different fields scored worse than students whom are jack of some trades that study deeper into several fields of their interest. Jack of all trades is better than master of one: and jack of some trades is better than both jack of all trades and master of one. It’s not too focused on a single subject, but also not too spread out across the surface.

That’s exactly how we self-learn on the internet. We learn how to use websites rather than memorization of details. We could always search for information we need online. Of course, we can always learn memorization like memory palace just to improve our memories if that’s our goal; otherwise, it’s not necessary to memorize information when they’re available to us to search. Information we have is not just those in our brains, but also those that are available for us to search, and those we know where to search for them. Furthermore, self-learning slowly aligns us to how we best take in information rather than how our teacher thinks we best take in information: hence we can learn better and happier if we have the choice to choose how we learn them. In schools, that’s only available outside lectures, and lectures are mostly still the same old lectures (particularly boring eh, depending on who’s holding the lecture: some lecturers make them interesting, though).

Also, the era of internet makes it possible for Big Data to thrives. Big Data not only record larger quantity of information, but better quality of information. In the past, due to the restrictions of writing, especially before the invention of papers, only the largest of events could be recorded down in historical books. What we know today are historical events that at least changes how an empire ruling decisions; or wars that are influential enough to be recorded down on the historical book. As papers get invented and more information can be recorded easier than carving on bamboo books, smaller events, such as more detailed description of the kings’ everyday lives, or how cities looks like (in a few sentences), and maps of the cities with greater precision exists. That’s why we know more information about histories record in later centuries than earlier centuries. Though, lacking in historians or awareness to be a historian is another reason for the lost of histories. Nowadays, Big Data can record specific information of an experiment down to the very details; and it can store lots of experiments, useful or non-useful, influential or non-influential, on the internet, for anybody to access it when they need it, now or in the future. Data could be recorded in shorter intervals: we can easily preserve news everyday without having a store with physical newspapers: and for a very long time. We can even preserve news in the hour interval than in the day or month interval. We can even preserve news from various news reporters. Generally, this is big data: shorter interval of taking data, plus larger range of data sources, aggregates into something that may or may not be useful, due to the advent of cheaper but larger sized hard disk (usually, but SSD also works) and faster internet connections.

Though, as the internet facilitates information sharing, it’s not just those trustable can share information, but also those not trustable. It’s not necessarily true what you seen on an internet is real: some people uses words like “this is like”, “this works like this” instead of “perhaps it is”, “this may be”: tricking our brain that what they said are facts rather than opinions. Certainly, facts does makes what they spoke more acceptable, and generally something firm is more easily acceptable by people; at the expense of lying to their readers, not informing them that it’s just an opinion. Others tends to keep only the positives of the information that boost their face and hide the negative information that they thought will lose their face. In fact, it may be true that your teachers grade you higher in university if you wrote one report that only reports the positive and hides the negative; or you get a lower grade if your negative report is longer than a certain percentage of your total reports. White lies and refusing to report everything cause those reading the report not aware of hidden information. That’s why we have to be careful learning on the internet, taking from not only trusted source, but if it’s important for us, to look through lots and lots of sources before making conclusion, plus don’t censor ourselves when we’re looking for information, deliberately ignoring those that we don’t like and only read those we like.

Machine Learning makes it easy to make fake comments for propaganda. Closer to a voting period, a language model could make comments that affects its fellow readers thinking lots of people are supporting a certain person. This allows altering the voting process from fair to unfair. In fact, if the fake comments make up the majority of the comments section, it’s very likely users whom skim through the contents think that it’s normal and everyone is voting for this particular person. Only those keeping a skeptical look and search out whether it’s manipulated shall find out its fakeness. Otherwise, most users won’t have the time to look closely and examine whether they’re being manipulated or not by hidden propagandas.

And we can’t be sure that news and histories we seen online are real. Held on a centralized server and database, any entity could manipulate the information after it’s released. For an edit like Github that allows revisions, we can easily look back at its edit history and decide whether it has been edited to lie to its readers on histories. Others that doesn’t implement the revision histories, or even deletable revision histories via normal or abnormal means, isn’t totally believable. Centralized news platform could also be influenced by conglomerate regarding information being released to public even before its first release. Webpages could be taken down via any forms of attacks and tactics if it affects the faces of certain influencing conglomerate.

Overall, audiences could be considered passive. Indeed, most people nowadays refuse to think if they don’t have to. Maybe they do think, only in their workplace on the things they’re working at, that they cannot not think; but outside, reading news etc, they prefer to relax and just passively absorb whatever information is presented to them without thinking too much and getting headache later. This makes easy for fake information and propaganda to influence when they’re passively absorbing information. Also, most people would not try to look for multiple sources of information, to clarify: it would take too much time, and they aren’t specifically into researching for information truth. Generally, if a news platform earns its trust of the members, it has the ability, before it’s being distrusted, to manipulate its audience at least once, for whatever reasons.

By building a walled gardens, and by ensuring everyone builds a walled gardens, the profit-receiving groups ensure they are the only users’ choice. User can choose not to use their product; but they cannot choose alternative products. All alternative products, be it their competitors or cooperators, implements similar tactics. As a whole, the unsounded policy guarantees that, although they fight between them, the bottom people would still go to them, whoever “them” is. And people or startups attempting to break the cycle may end up being warned; or for startups, being acquired by one of the conglomerates. It’s an unbreakable black hole, at least by a minority community.

Web3 and Blockchain

Now comes another change to how information are shared with the introduction of web3 and blockchain. Blockchain aims for WORM (Write Once Read Many), decentralization, and transparency. Some of the problem we listed in the previous section are what blockchain technology tries to solve. Certainly, the solutions may not be perfect; and one doubt there exist a perfect solution; but it certainly will lay better foundation for the future.


With companies nowadays asking users for their information, it’s important to understand how they use our information. Most mentioned that with a privacy policy: a long and extremely boring list of policies, taking advantage that users would be bored out to death reading it hence missing something, and force them to accept the privacy policy before we could use their product. And privacy policy can be changed anytime: with just an email notification to the users that the privacy policy changed. Given that most users are already bored to death on the first encounters to ultra-long privacy policy; it’s a wonder how many people read the changes. Automatically, privacy policy is just there to inform users that something has changed: it doesn’t ask for reconfirmation from users that they really accept what’s being changed. It’s “we already informed you. Since you didn’t react after we inform, we assume you agree with what we mentioned; so now that your information had been use like this and like that, it’s your fault for not disagreeing in the first place.” And privacy policy doesn’t mean that information are being used in ways that’s not listed down on the privacy policy. Perhaps it’s used to train a machine learning model, and they think since nobody (except the model) sees it, it’s not required to state in the privacy policy. Duh?

Generally, what you stored on the internet aren’t confirmed private. How about data stored on cloud services? Well, they explained lots of securities about how they deal with hackers, and where your data are stored. They explain if you buy which plan, they will have upgraded security and extra security measures against hackers. None of these targets internally. We don’t know if your cloud service provider will use your information stored on their hard disk for other uses, like training a machine learning model. Overall, nothing is confirmed, despite what they speaks to you. It’s a wonder whether your activites on a rented VM is visible to the cloud service provider: so they could block you if, say, you use the VM for crypto mining; or maybe for other reasons that kinda go against their will. If they could watch your activities, perhaps via a log file or something, then it’s highly probably they could know what you’re doing and even what information are stored if you use their services.

Moreover, ever received weird emails before, especially institution emails created by someone for you? I do, when one went to university and one uses their email address, one keeps receiving email (mostly in my language Chinese) about “do you want services to help write your essay?” or “do you want services to help proofread/check your exam essays?” One was wondering whether my school sold our email addresses to “spammers” targeting students; or it’s just spammers that gets so clever and manage to hack into the school database storing students’ email addresses that they could promote to…

Blockchains doesn’t aim for privacy, but anonymity. Instead of storing your information privately somewhere, blockchain refuse to collect real information about you unless required. Say, if you give information of your medical health record: aside from paying you for the information uploaded, they also only link it to your wallet address. If you didn’t tell anyone about the “hidden” wallet address, and you take care of not interacting your “hidden” wallet address with your main wallet address, you kinda make yourself anonymous without anyone knowing who exactly you are except for people whom you specifically told to or knows about your symptoms and guess it out and you acknowledge their guess. No more collecting your names, nationality, and things that determine your identity. Maybe age is needed, to see if certain disease/symptoms occur only at a certain age, I don’t know. Overall, that did what privacy policy was originally invented for, right? Privacy policy is to prevent other people from knowing your information if you don’t want them to know. Anonymity also does the same by unlink your real identity from the information you agreed to share publicly.

Also, without privacy policy, it’s not necessary to accept a privacy policy before using the product, like it is required now. If you don’t accept a privacy policy, they refuse you from using their product. That’s rude. Choose not to collect information and allow users to continue to use your products rather than forcing them to accept the privacy policy.

Blockchain also try to change the way of how organization operates. Instead of private operations that aren’t known to the users; many operations are publicized so users know how corporations operates, where do their information are being used, how it’s being used, and why it’s being used. Other used-to-be private information also gets publicized, letting consumers understand how their product are created and how the culture of the company is. Consumers trust the companies more -- they see for themselves instead of hearing what’s being spoken, which might or might not be true.

It moves users from trying to think how to save private information on-chain, to refuse to give private information if it’s truly wanted private. Anything on-chain, even if encryption can work, is public. People know how much money you have: it’s public. Well, people don’t know how much money you have: if you don’t tell anyone what are your wallet address. And people don’t know how much money you have, if you don’t transfer money between two (independent) accounts via any means. When there’s no link between two ledgers, you conceal your relationship. When you don’t link yourself to a wallet address, you conceal your identity. Still private, but let’s rethink what it means by “private”.

WORM (Write Once Read Many) and Decentralization

While histories since millenials ago are easily lost, due to burning of books, tearing of pages ordered by kings, and only keeping a single record, nowadays these, replaced with internet and people voluntarily backing up information in various servers prevent histories lost. Before the advent of the internet, we depends on people witnessing the stories to tell to others in a rather ineffective way, only to a small group of people they could reach to. Now, anything posted on the internet publicly is available to audiences from all around the world. Records are more difficult to be lost (unless the whole internet is destroyed), which probably requires a global consensus to remove internet or Earth facing mass eradication (humanity extinct isn’t totally removing histories: who knows there may be new knowledgeable species that thrives and their archaeologists discover what we left, so it’s not totally lost in that case; but mass eradication destroys all of our traits we left behind even after we got extinct: archaeologists of future species cannot find out that we exist before on Earth).

Also, information are immutable (WORM). Unless the author is forced before he/she published the information online to change the history, anything that’s published on IPFS are immutable. Even the owner could not delete the information. The only way to delete is via consensus, that all IPFS providers agree on destroying that piece of information; or by wiping out all IPFS providers on Earth. This ensures that histories that’s being posted online and discovered later by conglomerate whom decides they want to change these writings cannot do anything, as even blackmailing the writer, he/she has no power to remove the writings after it’s published. It isn’t always beneficial to the publishers though, if they accidentally found out they posted information that they want to remove now. But overall, the change helped preserve histories; and it also teaches publishers to take responsibility for what they have posted (with an “are you sure” button by requiring publishers to sign the transaction to finalizes its publishing).

And if a news platform isn’t controlled by a centralized entity but a decentralized entity, that it requires voting to verify its truth before posting, deems itself more true than postings from a centralized entity. After all, we mentioned centralized entity could be forced to change their mind on their postings before the first posting. Decentralized entity requires capturing all the news provider that may exist in several different countries before control could be done. And since news requires communicating with each other: this communication channel being on a public “database” rather than private database means, after they started communicating, anyone can verify it and finalizes the posting of information. A private database, on the other hand, allows taking down before it’s being displayed to the public. A public decentralized database (ahem, the blockchain itself, or IPFS) storing the communication records doesn’t.

And even today, we still consider selling information to the public. It makes sense, though. People are finding ways they could earn some money to rear themselves -- and selling information is one way. We can’t expect people to always open up public information -- they also need to feed themselves. Unless people could subscribe and donate to them monthly so the writers don’t have to worry about paying their bills, “free for others at the expense of myself ending up as a beggar” is not something doable. With Blockchain, one looks at websites like BookCoin allowing people to collect NFTs and have extra benefits holding the NFT, ranging from discussion with authors to create a v2 version of the book via consensus, filling in holes and missing information that’s previously not available in the book, disproving anything that the book might got it wrong, etc. It’s quite difficult to imagine, if the author doesn’t have another job, he/she could survive on the meager earnings that the book brings.

Another thing is time and effort put in on writing the book (or maybe just an article). Blogs that one usually write doesn’t have deep research, writings mostly on one’s findings rather than incorporate others’ findings, when one was doing something for a period of time. It could be programming, it could be social problems, it could be any life struggles one faced from time to time. On the other hand, things that requires more stricter research to ensure its correctness requires much more time to write, as we need examples to convince the reader that the writing is backed by research. Generally, it’s good if people does collect NFT when the authors put it up at the end, that books may take a long time to write. It’s not good if people take advantage of “transparency” in blockchain, just reading what the authors have written but not collecting anything, especially if we can read that the authors actually does their research and take time to write the book. Even nowadays, libraries pay at least a single copy to the author before lending it out to their members to read. It’s quite confusing how could blockchain ensures sufficient earnings from authors to rear themselves without finding an extra job. Though, based on Writing isn’t a good idea by Elle Griffin, one can see how difficult it is for writers to earn, even nowadays.

Maybe in the future, books won’t have an author anymore. A community gather together to work on different chapters of the book, and aggregate the information, writing different chapters separately, before having a single person (or group) to aggregate the information, ensuring that information flows smoothly from these independently-written chapters and finally aggregate into a single book. The information published online might not even have earnings: it’s difficult to think, in this case, what extra benefits NFT holders could earn if they already is a group of people participating in creation of the book without an author. Maybe “writers” or “author” lose their full-time job: it becomes something of an aggregated sense rather than a “one person author”. I don’t know. And writers nowadays, based on bookcoin, earns based on extra benefits like one to one with authors. While that kinda makes sense with fiction; one isn’t sure it always make sense with non-fiction. Overall, there might be an incentive (like pre-order) to pay the authors, and upon reaching a certain amount, a new chapter is written. Otherwise, it’s difficult to understand, unless voluntarily, why one would published something that tooks months or even years to complete freely and author end up as a beggar.


Knowledge started off vital for survival. Hunting, farming, gathering, making a shelter. They increase our chances of survival in a harsh environment. As we’re freed from worrying about basic requirements, enjoyable knowledge like music and poetry exists. People tries to fill their time with whatever that makes them enjoyable; and when we’re freed from hunting for basic requirements, we have more time to learn enjoyable knowledges, or just sitting down and enjoy a piece of music. Today, knowledge are everywhere, and we appreciate we cannot learn everything ourselves. They are stored on the internet. Not only does useful and enjoyable information exists, but also rubbish information that doesn’t mean anything and/or not useful, and repeated information that rephrase a certain information in another way to reach to different audiences.

Knowledge also grow in size. The skills vital for survival are learnt by everyone, and can be learnt by everyone, as it’s simple enough and must be simple enough for everyone to remember if they were to survive. Not everyone has the capacity to learn music and poetry: though some could study with grit, they certainly requires the time to do so. Plus not everyone is interested in them, too. They can now choose whether or not to acquire optional knowledges. Unless survival knowledge and skills that they must acquire if they are to survive, irregardless of whether they like it or not; these optional skills may put you in better situation in the society, such as the ruling classes; but they aren’t necessary for survival. Nowadays, no one single person can memorize everything on the internet down to the details recorded. People choose what to learn, what to specialize. They can learn a few; but that’s basically it; not everything. There’s just too much information.

Knowledge also changed their way of inheritance: from being inherited at home to being taught in school to being self-learned on the internet. As the society matured, new ways of transferring knowledge from one generation to another generation exists. School allow teaching information outside of a single family or a single tribe: within the whole country initially, and later opened to foreign countries. Internet allows anyone with access to the internet to learn anything that’s been made publicly available. And blockchain works their way to take down paywalls (i.e. information that requires pay to read) and (perhaps) private walls (i.e. information that is not accessible to the public, only to a minority that meets the requirement, or within a specific groups: usually these aren’t private to two people or a group, like research papers that are only available to specific institutions. It doesn’t corporate your secret conversation with your spouse, okay), letting key information accessible by the public for free. And hopefully public appreciate the shared knowledge and collect an NFT to support the author!

Finally, we want control. Conglomerate also wants control. It doesn’t feels good if something is out of your control. When you plan for how things go, but things aren’t in your control, you can only change it to this much, not totally changing it. It’s no wonder that blockchain trying to regain control, or more exactly, to dissipates control, gets lots of attention from conglomerate. Propaganda such as “blockchain are high risk, you can lose your money” or “crypto is a scam, a Ponzi Scheme” keeps people from using it. As long as people don’t use blockchain, conglomerate retains their control. It goes against conglomerate’s will to state that: blockchain is not crypto, blockchain is just related to crypto, and we have stablecoins. Nope: blockchain is crypto, and crypto is high risk, so blockchain is high risk. Don’t use blockchain.

Let us appreciate the evolution of knowledge and what we have today. For those that are starved of knowledge, let us appreciate that people in the past don’t have sufficient knowledge to satisfy their insatiable appetite to devour more knowledges: and we have. Let us appreciate that blockchain tries to publicize knowledges, to unite everyone as one, to move the world’s progress forward.

Let us appreciate, that we can be a more knowledgeable person today.


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