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Re: rant on the morality of confidentiality
Dr.Dimitri Vulis KOTM wrote:
>Not just the scientific community... everyone. If an art critic declines
>to publish something, its a loss probably only to his fellow art critics,
>but if a mathematician or a biologist or a physicist doesn't publish, it's
>a loss for more than just his colleagues.
There is a sense of loss of valuable information, once you know that it
existed before you knew about it. Of course, there are a million and one
things that we don't know today that we wish we knew, and which could help
everyone who has the need for that special knowledge.
1) But it is also true that the Truth (the facts of nature and principles
on what is possible - in mathematics, or any scientific pursuit) does not
"go away" simply because one person's discovery is not conveyed to
everyone. It remains true and in existence, waiting for anyone else to do
the work of discovery, or for mankind itself to evolve into the kind of
creature whose mind can grasp the principles involved. It is a loss not
to know the achievements of a great scientist's work, but the facts
themselves are not lost, they remain available for anyone who can think as
well, to find them.
2) Scientists and other very original, competent people like to think they
can do as well as any one else, and I imagine sometimes they consider
insulting the proposition that they must depend upon the work of another in
order to achieve understanding; that without it they would be unable to do
as well. Isn't this one of the reasons for some of the conflicts between
scientists over originality, and the jealousy over recognition?
I went to an exhibit yesterday of Leonardo da Vinci, where I saw the 400
year old Codex Leicester. He was "a keen observer" of Nature, and from
his detailed studies he learned much which provided his inventive mind with
much material for creative works. The exhibit brings to mind not only his
work, but the methods of such a great mind in reaching those heights and
So in relation to this debate on the morality of not sharing: would it not
be as good a thing to look toward method - to value and promote the ability
to know how to think, how to observe properly, how to understand what is
before oneself - than merely to consider ourselves dependent upon the
_result_ of the work of certain others, bewailing their insensitivity when
they fail to share with us what they obtained for themselves? Because this
does go in the direction of thinking in terms of "obligation", which is
rather unappreciative of their unique & separate identity.