“Learning to Read, Again”

Sunday, 27 Mar 2022

David Kolb:

I picked my own case because the focus on words and print makes various stages of learning to navigate a media world easily identifiable. […]

When I moved to Bates College in Maine in the late ’70s, the computer revolution was just beginning. I rented a standalone word processing device the size of a small refrigerator from Digital Equipment Corporation and used it to begin a book. A few years later I bought my first computer. The fledgling Internet was gradually coming up and everything I knew about reading, research, and paper was about to be challenged.

At first I didn't notice how much was changing[.]

His summary of the developments is succint:

The media have become predatory, grasping; you’re not in control. […]

Recall the old advertising tactic: stimulate people into a constant state of low level unfulfilled sexual excitement, and into that gap you can pour a infinity of products. That still continues, but now add another tactic: stimulate people into a constant state of unsatisfied anger and resentment, and out of that gap you can pull an infinity of votes and cash contributions. So we get exposes, fake news, endless conspiracy theories, all with urgent appeals.

And, as the salesmen say, “but wait, there’s more.” Aside from all those predatory grasping Internet manipulators there is something diffuse and deceptive going on, a general hyping and intensifying of our everyday encounters.

His thoughts on what answer must be are that wall-building isolation cannot possibly work. And so he proposes something else.

Via Mark Bernstein.