Wee Scoops

Measure for Measure

Well Thumbed

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What a quick read!

I rushed it, of course, and will read it more closely again. Some lovely snippets of prophetic foresight, that we get to view with hindsight.

The quote I liked best was from Socrates, who was echoing, well, me, really in my post “Facts” that I posted a couple of days ago.

The discovery of the alphabet will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves… You give your disciples not truth but only semblance of truth; they will be heroes of many things, and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing.

Socrates, “Phaedrus” quoted in “The Medium is the Massage” p 113

It is the immediacy of the internet that makes me anxious about being able to access information so readily that people will “have learned nothing” and “will know nothing” – if all information is stored outside our brains instead of inside our brains – in overheated servers in dingy buildings serviced by half-witted spanner-wielders.

Always encouraging to find that you are not the first person to have been uneasy about de-skilling the brain.

I need to read the book again.

I believe it will be well thumbed, eventually.

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10 thoughts on “Well Thumbed

  1. Scotstig on said:

    I, like you despair at the immediacy of information on the internet as it seems that information and real truth can be contravened or perverted by those with twisted or negative ideals. Information can be, just delivered without correct substance or context.

    But I don’t think it’s all bad and the good outways the bad.

    I despair that people think “Braveheart” is factual. I despair that social media can be used as a way of “grooming” or stalking.

    But I think that countries have found freedom, correct information has been found faster and with ease. Communication and information have been used as forces not only to inform but also to educate.

    In the Middle Ages Britain, monks in each church withheld the right to the public to be able to read or write the bible as they had studied Latin. This gave them power which they very much enjoyed and exploited. They knew, even then, that information was power.

    I guess it is the role of parents and educators to manage the mass of information that is being queried through a learner’s head rather than restricting the information sources to the ones we prefer. There is a world of difference between training and an education.

  2. Hear, hear. I worry about getting answers of anything to easily does a disservice to our brains. I believe that calculators haven’t a place in high school. Spellcheck and grammar check shouldn’t be allowed until you are forty. We need to work for our knowledge, it makes it more appreciated and it is healthier for your brain.

  3. That Socrates! Such a plagiarist! 🙂

  4. I don’t think you need to worry. In general having such egalitarian forms of access to information is an excellent thing. People no longer have to breach the intimidating atmosphere of the library in order to find out what they wish to know, they can do it from home. You can read a breadth of experience and opinion from all over the world instantly and it’s harder for secret regimes to keep their activities secret and their populace isolated than it ever was. Just think, not so long ago you would have only been able to reach a few tens of people with this particular idea and now you can reach how many? However the barriers to information access remain the same and in fact the sheer wealth of information provides greater problems. The vital skills that one requires are in sifting and collating the information and determining the veracity of the claims made. Critical thinking skills are more vital than ever and should be taught from Primary School. Furthermore I posit that those who were of a mind to research pre-Internet are the same as those post-Internet. It’s amazing how many are happy and even proud to remain ignorant. They would rather rely on their feelings and intuition than information and evidence. People are always laughing at me for instantly looking up a fact to bridge the gap in my knowledge. Most people’s Google platform stays in their pocket. I do think some kind of general knowledge ticker broadcast along the bottom of Stricktly Come Dance Poorly or Xasperated by another talent Factor would come in handy!

    • I’m with you on the instantly filling in the fact-gap. Perhaps I am too google happy on my iphone. It’s weird – when we were wee, you could wonder something, and then look wistfully into middle distance – Now I say “gimme a minute” and hey, we know! I love it. But I don’t want to store all my info externally for reference in emergency… just going to write on that just now.

      • I hate it when people wonder something and look wistfuly into the middle distance and then go no further. When I was wee I used to ask my parents or look up my favourite book (my Encylopaedia) or go to the library.

        Mysteries are there to be solved.

        In the end of the day civillisation will collapse and we’ll all wish we’d watched Gardener’s World and Countryfile a little more closely and working things out from first principles will be a marketable skill.

        Just in case, I’ve got my copy of Mrs Beetons around somewhere.

  5. (from a fellow Google lover and frequent checker-out of facts) Thanks for posting. These classical authors have still much to teach us.

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