Hacking a production system

Systems for producing comprehension are too often taken for granted. It's assumed the authority figures know what they're doing. It's accepted that deeper levels of comprehension are unavailable for some good reason. The learners figure they are at fault when they lose motivation, interest and commitment to the pursuit of deeper comprehension.

Let's take the example of comprehending ink cartridges. An academic comprehension could thoroughly grasp WHAT an ink cartridge is. That may include:
  • what cartridges are not ink cartridges (toner, ribbon, etc)
  • what cartridge is the right one to insert in a particular printer
  • what to look for on a the box/catalog listing to verify the correct cartridge before buying
  • what cartridges do when we're printing out a document
  • what steps to take when replacing a cartridge

If the system for producing comprehension goes no further than an academic comprehension, there will be no comprehension of:
  • how to connect the cables, install the software drivers and operate the printer
  • how to be sure not to break the printer when removing and inserting cartridges
  • how to interpret the signs that the cartridge needs to be primed again or replaced

This commercial level comprehension can get responsibilities handled, get jobs done, and get results. It pays to know this level. When a system for producing comprehension does not yield this level, it can be hacked. The peers can interfere with the imposed limitation. They can get printers to practice on, and give each other feedback on attempts to use the printers. Together they can get good at changing ink cartridges at the right time with the right model.

This level of comprehension falls short of the pragmatic level. The system can be hacked again to enable "qualified printer operators" to troubleshoot problems with printing out documents. By immersion in actual or simulated malfunctions, it will become understood how to diagnose problems, question possible causes, explore different subsystems, challenge convenient assumptions and rule out "false positives". Once again the peer production can liberate the commercial level of comprehension with hacks to mess around with breakdowns.

It's even possible to take comprehension to the deepest level of paradox. Then it will become possible to sense the best time to change a cartridge, when printing out is becoming excessive, and what to bring into balance beyond the fixated use of printers.

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