Preserving knowledge in a world that no longer cares to know

Preserving knowledge in a world that no longer cares to know

[The] trend toward rationality and enlightenment was endangered long before the advent of the Internet. As Neil Postman noted in his 1985 book Entertaining Ourselves to Death, the rise of television introduced not just a new medium but a new discourse: a gradual shift from a typographic culture to a photographic one, which in turn meant a shift from rationality to emotions, exposition to entertainment In an image-centered and pleasure-driven world, Postman noted, there is no place for rational thinking, because you simply cannot think with images. It is text that enables us to “uncover lies, confusions and overgeneralizations, to detect abuses of logic and common sense. It also means to weigh ideas, to compare and contrast assertions, to connect one generalization to another.”

How Social Media Endangers Knowledge

Wikipedia, one of the last remaining pillars of the open and decentralized web, is in existential crisis. This has nothing to do with money. A couple of years ago, the site launched a panicky fundraising campaign, but ironically thanks to Donald Trump, Wikipedia has never been as wealthy or well-organized.

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4 Responses to Preserving knowledge in a world that no longer cares to know

  1. Things are only a success if they grow exponentially forever.

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  2. Jay Gischer says:

    A flattening growth rate is sign of failure? Wow.

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  3. Brian Arbenz says:

    I don’t mourn the loss of Wikipedia, if it indeed is in trouble. There are many excellent online free and easily accessible encyclopedia sites. Encyclopedia Britannica Online, and a Stanford University collection are two. Wikipedia’s founder being an admirer of Ayn Rand, I suspect his legacy of using volunteers is a wink to the libertarian “volunteerist” movement, the real purpose of which is to further undercut wages and benefits. Meanwhile, Jimmy Wales has become a multi-millionaire from his other online ventures, which makes them not exactly volunteer-based.

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  4. Laura Gibbs says:

    Kind of click-bait, but the question of image and text is a fascinating one, and not a simple zero-sum / binary as the article suggests. If people haven’t read The Alphabet versus The Goddess, I highly recommend it, by the late great Leonard Shlain:
    en.wikipedia.org – The Alphabet Versus the Goddess – Wikipedia

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