Last week, following a discussion we held in class in the Quality Engineering course program, while answering questions in preparation for the ICQE exam, a student has asked me whether I truly thought that not all knowledge is always helpful. I replied that indeed this was so, and that it is my belief that sometimes, certain knowledge may not only be unhelpful but even harmful.
Being well aware that an answer such as this may result in a storm of protests, I had to elaborate and thoroughly explain and base my meaning.
Today I shall tell you another story about the Wise Men of Helem and solutions to problems. I know this one in Russian, beautifully translated from Yiddish, in which it was written by Ovsey Driz, a wonderful Russian Jewish poet and writer, as part of a cycle “The bead bookmark”. This poem-story is called “Helem traditions” (my own loose translation):
From times immemorial there were mice in Helem.
Not one, not two, not a thousand – but, perhaps, a million.
This is a story I heard a long time ago, and no longer remember who told it to me. I beg whoever it was to forgive me, and to please remind me, if he/she is reading these lines and recognize it. I shall be happy to remember – and fix the reference.
A young couple got married, as it is wont to happen occasionally in various parts of the world. A short time after they got back from their honeymoon, they settled into their daily routine life together, and one of the regular things in daily life is meal preparation.
Today I would like, with your permission, to go back and explore again the question of the very primary essence of the Quality Assurance profession, and what makes it stand out among other disciplines in the organization. What is so unusual about it? Why is it that nobody understands what we are actually supposed to be doing?
Well, in order to answer all these questions I must, first of all, go back and focus your attention on one of the greatest and ever-growing difficulties the world is facing in this new Age, the Age of Information. (more…)
There is an ancient Indian folk tale about the six old blind men who have dreamed to see the elephant, until an elephant driver came by and heard them and allowed them to come to his elephant and make themselves familiar with this wonder. This tale was turned into the following poem by John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887):
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.