Following on from my previous post which mentioned Ambient Information by Peter Morville, I’d like to give an example of why the sub-title of his book is significant.
Having spent the best part of 20 years carrying out searches for people, there have been times when what I’ve found has affected the way I live my life. Take, for example, a series of searches I was once asked to carry out around an aspect of large-scale poultry and pig farming. This was both fascinating and horrible. Fascinating because I hadn’t known very much about it before I started searching – beyond feeling somewhat uncomfortable with the concept – horrible because of what I learnt as I went along.
By the way, if you ever need to search this topic, excellent sites for this industry sector are The Pig Site and its companion series of sites covering other farm animals such as poultry and cattle. I didn’t need the likes of Jamie Oliver to tell me how unpleasant large-scale meat production is. These searches provided more than enough insight – and, yes, what I found changed me in that it made me acutely aware of the wastage in our (over-) eating and changed my meat-buying habits.
It’s not just the animal suffering, but the huge problem of pollution caused by mountains of untreated animal waste. There’s a well-balanced book by David Kirby about all this called Animal Factory: the looming threat of industrial pig, dairy and poultry farms to the human environment, which – I’m pleased to say – is being well advertised (let’s hope people have more chance of finding it than Peter Morville would suggest).
I didn’t eat very much meat before I carried out the searches on this topic, but afterwards I felt even more strongly that I should be careful about where the meat I do eat comes from.
So does what we find really change who we become? Of course it does. Our lives are disrupted and influenced throughout by what we find out and experience. This can be a Really Good Thing.