Este foi um debate que terminou com uma surpreendente reviravolta e colocou a Internet como o fator fundamental no aprendizado moderno.
Estamos ficando mais cultos e desta forma mais maduros e críticos com o nosso destino e as decisões de terceiros que o influenciem.
- Inteligência das massas.
This house believes that in its appetite for culture, the world is wising up more than it is dumbing down.
January 16, 2009
Ms Fiammetta Rocco
Final vote: Pro:52% Con:48%
The evolution of this debate has been clear, and also rather surprising. The early exchanges, under the leadership of our two debaters pitting the ayes against the nays, gave way to a debate about the effect of the internet. In the past two or three days it has veered course again, to a discussion of how our very thinking is changing.
Our commentators have offered evidence that we are both wising up and dumbing down at once. As desplena puts it, our mania for entertainment, the fixation with Hollywood, the abandonment of classical studies and the “loss of fundamental education”, at least in the West, is evident for everyone to see, and certainly not proof that we are wising up. Quite the opposite. At the same time, as Peter Sellers wrote, “there is more [information] out there and more tools with which to reach it than at any time before in history. Culture is no longer the exclusive preserve of the aristocracy and nobility as it once was. Technology has made it possible for millions of people to get what they want, when they want it.”
There is no question that the internet allows us to be more easily informed on the subjects that we want to take the time to get to know. But, as jaygem points out, “taking time is the key because traditional ‘smarts’, which you are lamenting the loss of, takes a lot of time and effort. Taking ‘time and effort’ is history. We now live in a fast world and we are never going back.”
Another commentator, Jim, pointed to the same conclusion. When he first started writing papers in school, he had to write a draft, cut it into pieces to reorganise his points, rewrite the drafts until satisfied, then type it up. By the time he had finished a paper, he had read his work from beginning to end several times. The process changed with the advent of the internet. He and his classmates would use the internet to find citations and background, and then enter the material into word processors to cut and paste paragraphs around effortlessly. After reading the papers the professor would admonish the students to please read their papers before turning them in. Whole sections were unintelligible because they had been chopped in half or not edited. The computer had made it much easier to write a paper, but it didn't always help Jim and his fellow students say what they meant to say. “To say the right thing still requires discipline and effort.”
Perhaps today’s thinkers, Jim suggests, are becoming better “sprint” thinkers, while the older technologies trained “marathon” thinkers. Is this bad? Does “sprint” thinking automatically mean dumbing down?
The final vote is very evenly balanced. As the debate draws to a close, it has become increasingly clear that the most important aspect of the duel has not been winning, but participating. From day to day, the vote would move one percentage point in this direction and then, perhaps, one percentage point in the other; but still the comments kept pouring in. I found myself logging on to my computer day and night just to read the latest missives from the floor. I’m not allowed to say what I would vote. But, in a world where we are said to be increasingly time-poor, I have been heartened how few (very few) of the comments were grouchy and how many people have been prepared to devote considerable time to putting forth their views intelligently and with passion. Engagement, clearly, is the new victory.