I like the way wikis work.  

I like the way they are constantly being improved, but never finished.  I like the way content is shaped by input from many different people.  And I like that everything evolves; everything is in flux, just like in life.  

I've come to see that everything in life is just a big messy wiki page, constantly being squabbled over, revised, and reworked by countless editors.  Nothing is ever perfected; nothing is ever finished. But things do get better overall. They get better because of all the conflict.  Just the way a Wikipedia article gets better because of all the different viewpoints that have to be reconciled.

The other day I spent the better part of an hour reading the talk page for Wikipedia's entry on "High Fructose Corn Syrup." Fascinating stuff.  And nowadays instead of reading the op/ed pieces in the Times, I jump right to all the hundreds of readers' comments on any particular column or editorial.  They give me a much better sense of all sides of the issue... where different people are coming from, and what arguments they make.  I feel like that gets me closer to the truth, because the truth lies somewhere in between all the opposing viewpoints.  I think maybe what I'm talking about is called a dialectic, but I never read Hegel, so I wouldn't know.

Some people want to believe that there's an authority—a last word, so to speak.  Fundamentalists... Constitutional originalists... these are people who would like to believe in an absolute set of laws, laid out by a perfect text, that managed to get it right for all time.  But laws are things that have to evolve as our species evolves.  The Constitution and the Bible both have to get updated, wiki-style.  (And they do, through new interpretations.) Otherwise, they won't survive and something else will take their place.

And so, I've decided I would like to be a wiki... Wiki-Pete. People in my life will be allowed to change me.  I'll retain some degree of editorial control, in case somebody just wants to mess me up for no good reason.  But in general, I'll try to be open to changes, because I think there's so much I could gain from it.  One person might help me be more outgoing. Another could make me less self-absorbed, less given to writing blogs about myself. And someone else might punch up my style a bit and make me flow better. I'll never be finished. I'll never be perfect. But I'll keep getting better...

Musings Past