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The Momcat and I were talking about something like this yesterday.  She has the book The Alphabet versus the Goddess: The Conflict between Word and Image by Leonard Shlain.  It has been on my To Read list like forever, but from our conversations and other sources, I understand that Schlain makes the case that the advent of the printing press and wide-spread literacy altered the wiring of our brains in profound and fundamental ways, from primarily visual and symbolic modes of comprehension and communication to more verbal and, for lack of a better word, logical modes.  Perhaps, just perhaps, the rise of the Enlightenment, science, industrialization all follow as direct or indirect results of that change.

Lately I've begun to see and hear expressions of concern that the Web is somehow dumbing us down, turning us into semi-illiterates, easily seduced by flashy graphics and catchy sound-bites.  I wonder if instead the Web, which is after all primarily a graphical more than verbal medium, is facilitating another brain rewiring, from verbal/logical back to visual/symbolic.  And I wonder if that's necessarily a bad thing.  Perhaps there is a place for both, and finding a proper balance would help us get past some of the dead ends we seem to have wandered into as a species and as a civilization.

We all bleed the same color.

by budr on Fri Jul 11th, 2008 at 07:38:26 AM EST
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One might also counter that the dumbing-down, visual-cues, no-text, illogical medium par excellence (or whatever one wishes to call such a thing) is the TV.

Further, such screaming about the internets being used to YouTube snazzy videos and loaded up with flash would belie the fact that the 'net is fundamentally a written medium - all the animation jazz is very visibly and usually very crudely attached after the fact (and usually in such a fashion as to eat my CPU-time... grumble, grumble...).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jul 12th, 2008 at 12:57:34 PM EST
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