No More Writing

According to Plato, Socrates believed that teaching writing was a bad idea. If you teach writing, "your pupils will be widely read without benefit of a teacher's instruction; in consequence, they'll entertain the delusion that they have wide knowledge, while they are, in fact, for the most part incapable of real judgment." For Socrates, students who can write will lose the skill of reasoned discourse. You can't exchange ideas with someone who is dead but whose ideas remain in writing.

Thus the pattern of communication adoption was set. The older generation knowing that the new communication medium (writing) will destroy the established time tested communication medium (face to face discourse) , and that society will suffer for it. Of course, this was not the case. It has never been the case. It will never be the case. No new technology has erased the previous technology. The printing press did not eliminate calligraphy. Books did not erase oral story telling. Neither recorded music nor radio destroyed live music. Television did not eliminate radio or film. To be sure, the relative importance of communications shift (do you remember sending letters by US Mail) but they do survive. What is important is that we become as competent with new forms of communication as we were with the old.

For the YB blog I am, henceforth, giving up writing in favor of short videos. Since I am a much better writer than video maker, you might wonder --"Why?"

It is because video is competing with written communication. The "moving picture" word may dominate the "written" word. Literacy in the 21st century may mean the ability to make a good two minute video and send it like email to your mom, your boss and your 19,000 closest friends.

I learn best by doing, doing badly to be sure, but doing and doing and keep doing until I get it right or at least until people stop making fun of my efforts. Wish me luck.

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