Note — Sep 19, 2021

Warning: Your Reality Is Out of Date

I’ve often cited Samuel Arbesman’s concept of the half-life of knowledge. Here in this 2010 piece (via Matt Webb) he explains what he calls “mesofacts,” those that change at medium speed and often go unnoticed.

What’s fantastic (and kind of funny) about it, is that since the piece is eleven years old, some of his examples of mesofacts have themselves changed again, proving his point.

We recognize rapid change, whether it’s as simple as a fast-moving object or living with the knowledge that humans have walked on the moon. But anything short of large-scale rapid change is often ignored. […]

[I]n our increasingly fast-paced and interdisciplinary world, lacking an even approximate knowledge of our surroundings is unwise. […]

The fact that the world changes rapidly is exciting, but everyone knows about that. There is much change that is neither fast nor momentous, but no less breathtaking.