Thursday, November 15, 2007

Literacy and the Information Age

As literacy became widespread in a culture, the act of reading silently invited each reader to go beyond the text; in so doing, it further propelled the intellectual development of the individual reader and the culture.
—Maryanne Wolf, Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain, quoted by Richard Cox in “The Brain and the Document,”
I had thought that the magic of the information age was that it allowed us to know more, but then I realized the magic of the information age is that it allows us to know less. It provides us with external cognitive servants—silicon memory systems, collaborative online filters, consumer preference algorithms and networked knowledge. We can burden these servants and liberate ourselves.
—David Brooks, “The Outsourced Brain,” The New York Times