Monday, 28 January 2008

the way we think

The tools we use to gather, store, and analyze information inevitably exert a strong influence over the way we think.
Now that the internet is our go-to tool,
What I wonder, as a long-ago philosophy instructor, is whether today's students, who are used to this "horizontal grazing" style of research, can any longer appreciate the long, complex logical structures that were traditionally regarded as serious thought.
Or do they just snag a few quotables from other blogs an post them without further analysis?

1 comment:

maggie said...

Speaking as a college student, it is indeed pretty hard to find original thought among my peers, not that they aren't capable. They're there to further their education right? Well, no. Not exactly. Most people I encounter view college as a means to an end. And the end is not necessarily knowledge and developing thought but the promise of money and security that all of our teachers in high school and our parents said a college degree ensures.

I find that many people hear something that strikes them in some way, they write it down and repeat it to give the illusion of deep thought, but forget that they haven't finished the process! They cut it short in the never-ending pursuit of instant gratification and convenience. It is just way too easy to cut and paste, and there ya have it! Instant genius. They've forgotten the part where you think about it, reflect, apply it, whatever.

It makes me sad sometimes, how few people I meet that learn for the experience of learning, for the satisfction it brings to your soul. I get strange looks when I tell people I'd like to stay in school as long as humanly possible. "Don't you hate getting up and going to class?"
There are deep thinkers out there though, and some of them are even in my generation! I cling to them, they are few and far between.

(This is, by the way, in no way meant as a generalization although it is sounding quite a bit like one. This is based on my limited biased experiences with the small number of people I have spoken to or listened to in my classes and on a social level.)
But I wanted to let you know, there are young people out there with serious thought. And I thank the internet for being such a remarkable tool for research and for learning and hearing the opinions of others. It's actually quite wonderful when used for the right purposes. I mean besides porn and catching up on reality shows.