We carry supercomputers in our pockets providing access to all of the wisdom of human history, so why has public discourse deteriorated in the twenty-first century?
Literacy rates in 1500s around 20%. Who do you think got to learn to read write then?
The cost of distribution in 1500s was astronomical
Literacy rates now almost 100%
Cost of distribution at or below zero.
We got the accumulated knowledge (but not really all is available)
We have however also the accumulated garbage writings. Thus quality to garbage ratio has collapsed.
Now, do not get me started on how much more distractions we have today vs 1500s ;)
Great article. Making the time to think is more important now than ever. It not only will enhance our lives as individuals. In the long run it is essential for the proper functioning of our way of life, the proper functioning of our society. Ill contents in social media are the modern-day gladiator shows.
Thanks for this.
Outstanding article on related subjects:
We're Living in a Scroll-and Swipe Doom Loop Culture
Here's how we escape it by Ted Gioia
Rational Walk, this piece is absolutely profound. Thank you for writing and sharing it!
I suspect that only your "older" readers will perceive its true value and meaning!
I, being almost 47, often feel deep nostalgia of the good old "internet-free" days. It's not that I don't appreciate the vastness of knowledge and opportunity on the net. I just miss the days when I studied for my university exams at the library, surrounded by books, and I overjoyed when I got a real letter from a friend abroad. The good old days...(sigh)!
Please, allow me to share a book which I suspect you will greatly enjoy reading. Its title is: "The things you can see only when you slow down." The author's name is Haemin Sunim.
Let me know if you like it!
All my very best!
I like the "think week" concept (although I'd probably go through serious withdraw symptoms before a week was up). It reminds me of the Solitude of Leadership article by William Deresiewicz (https://theamericanscholar.org/solitude-and-leadership/) which stresses the need for solitude to think things through without distractions from FB, Twitter, TikTok YouTube, etc. (other people's ideas) and create your own thoughts. Great writeup!
„By means of ever more effective methods of mind-manipulation, the democracies will change their nature; the quaint old forms— elections, parliaments, Supreme Courts and all the rest—will remain. The underlying substance will be a new kind of non-violent totalitarianism. All the traditional names, all the hallowed slogans will remain exactly what they were in the good old days. Democracy and freedom will be the theme of every broadcast and editorial—but democracy and freedom in a strictly Pickwickian sense. Meanwhile the ruling oligarchy and its highly trained elite of soldiers, policemen, thought-manufacturers and mind-manipulators will quietly run the show as they see fit.“ — Aldous Huxley, book Brave New World Revisited Source: Brave New World Revisited (1958), Chapter 3, p. 25
I enjoyed this article. I've read similar articles in the past dealing with the explosion of information and our inability to access it.
Now we have the internet and smartphones to access ever deeper into the information, but it still eludes us.
So much information, so little time.
Anyone attempting to journey into the universe of digital information is met with a vast array of "helpers" along the way. But unfortunately their purpose is not to guide us to our destination, but instead to guide us to their destination.
Being able to find the purest results of whatever information we may seek is doomed. How can anyone help but think that the digital search they're attempting hasn't been corrupted by nefarious algorithms, censors and bots that slice and carve the information into their prescribed results for you?
The purest research still lies in books until they're gone.
I have often said that most humans carry around a device that gives them access to most of the available material ever written or recorded in history. Like the Library Of Alexandria, but unlimited 24/7 and practically free.
These same humans use this miracle device to look at funny videos of cats and to argue with strangers, along with other NSFW activities.