Knowing and knowing

Intelligence…as in Intelligence Agencies (capital letters all around) seems to be a bit of an oxymoron. You know – this is the spy stuff – once the realm of 007 and sheer brawn – now the center of global scary high tech and sheer brain power – so they think. Listen to this… “It was not an intelligence failure that permitted the Sept. 11 attacks, it was a lack of imagination. The C.I.A., the F.B.I. and the National Security Agency had a lot of data but they failed to connect the dots — or share information” New York Times Tuesday Feb 3, 2009:

Again – lack of IMAGINATION…failure to SHARE.

And there you have it. We continue to confuse looking smart; being smart; sounding smart; acting smart with the ability to actually do something with our smarts.

Someone asks you for the time and you describe the theory of relativity; a friend requests your famous chicken recipe and you send a treatise on nutrition; you are told its cold in the room (hint.hint) and you provide a white paper on global warming – along with a protest button to wear.

All good things to do. All interesting outcomes to the questions, requests or hints at hand. But none actually satisfies the need. Problem is – you had information – lots of it – but you didn’t use your imagination to link it to the need. You didn’t connect the dots.

Listen to this:

“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing — that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.”
~Richard Feynman

Imagination drives knowing something; connecting the dots between knowing one thing and another drives new thinking and discovery and sharing all of that leads to even more discovery and new ideas.

So next time you see a pigeon – watch it – and call a friend….

Your thoughts?

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