Better questions, not more answers

I can’t believe how good Frank Herbert really was. I was looking at Dune messiah, containing quotes from the Dune books, and couldn’t help noticing how much IA’s have in common with the mentats described in the books. Information architecture is very much about asking better questions. Read the Dune books if you haven’t already!

Here’s a quote:

“Above all else, the mentat must be a generalist, not a specialist. It is wise to have decisions of great moment monitored by generalists. Experts and specialists lead you quickly into chaos. They are a source of useless nit-picking, the ferocious quibble over a comma. The mentat-generalist, on the other hand, should bring to decision-making a healthy common sense. He must not cut himself off from the broad sweep of what is happening in this universe. He must remain capable of saying: “There’s no real mystery about this at the moment. This is what we want now. It may prove wrong later, but we’ll correct that when we come to it.” The mentat-generalist must understand that anything which we can identify as our universe is merely part of larger phenomena. But the expert looks backward; he looks into the narrow standards of his own specialty. The generalist looks outward; he looks for living principles, knowing full well that such principles change, that they develop. It is to the characteristics of change itself that the mentat-generalist must look. There can be no permanent catalogue of such change, no handbook or manual. You must look at it with as few preconceptions as possible, asking yourself: “Now what is this thing doing?”
The Mentat Handbook ~ Children of Dune

0 thoughts on “Better questions, not more answers

  1. Hi, I don’t know anything about IA, but it sounds interesting. Anybody who puts up a DUNE quote, and that one in particular, is ok in my book.

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