Thursday, January 22, 2009


"Our civilization has reached a stage at which together we are extremely powerful and in our individual capacities nearly helpless. We (that is, we as a body) can solve the most complicated mathematical problems, but our children no longer know the multiplication table. Since they can use a calculator to find out how much six times seven is, why bother? Also, WE can fly from New York to Stockholm in a few hours, but, when asked where Sweden is, thousands of people answer with a sigh that they did not take geography in high school: it must be somewhere up there on the map. There is no need to know anything: given the necessary software, clever machines will do all the work and leave us playing videogames and making virtual love. The worst anti-utopias did not predict such a separation between communal omniscience and personal ignorance, such a complete rift between collective wisdom and individual stultification."
~Anatoly Liberman

I didn't realize the great Anatoly shared my discontent with the direction our great society is headed.


Chaka said...

How are you endeavoring to keep the flame of civilization lit, Pirate Jimmy?

beau said...

Regarding Anatoly's rant on standardized spelling and more specifically the spellchecker: I find the Achilles heel of this particular function in the fact that, having right clicked on some spelling train wreck of mine in search of the correct spelling, I inadvertently slip and select "Add to dictionary" which only canonizes my error and leaves me wide open to future embarrassment. In this small way, I suppose, I am contributing to the downfall of civilization.

Chaka said...

I just did my times tables from 1 to 13. Keepin' the flame lit.

Pirate Jimmy said...

I quit being a gamer. I play an occasional video game, but I'm no longer a "gamer."