Elias presents ... a worm!    Thoughts on family, philosophy,
and technology


Thursday, February 16, 2006

A tale of two premises

I can go halfway here. Bravo for stating this simple yet noble truth about writing:

[I]t's not enough to simply vomit out of your fingers. It's important to say what you mean clearly, correctly and well. It's important to maintain high standards. It's important to think before you write.

The written word is to thought as money is to work and sex is to love: the former is the concrete, here-now-this form of the higher-order activity and abstractness of the latter. And just as money can be stolen or wasted, and an act of sex can be a shameful degradation, a sloppy thought written or printed-out doesn't deserve the ink it consumes.

Technology, however, is not culpable here -- that's the incorrect premise of the article. Technology is amoral (in this sense) as has been said, because it does not cause one to be moral or not, though it enables both. High-tech communication does seem to be a cultural lubricant, in that SMTP, NNTP, and HTTP allow anyone's thoughts to be spread worldwide in a matter of seconds. The classic limiting factors over which thoughts travel the world and influence minds -- things like money and politics -- are receding as the fundamental factor becomes more-and-more unleashed: individual judgement.

When I get an email of all lower-case, no-punctuation sentence fragments, I don't blame the sinister TCP/IP networks and POP servers which are destroying civilization. I rather chalk it up to the sender's bad judgement, especially his or her implicit judgement that clear thinking isn't important. Clearly, I think it is.

I could stop here, but I want to nail down that self-imposed illiteracy is not just bad taste or lack of education (I'm talking about adults here), it is literally immoral. How can I know that?

Honesty is the dedication to facts, at the potential expense of any random desire-of-the-moment. To be dishonest is to pretend a fact isn't a fact, or that something important isn't important. And this is exactly the meaning of sloppy thinking: acting as if reality isn't all that important, what's supremely important is riding out my next wave of cognitive whim.

or i dunno ..... maybe i should just chill ;-P


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