“Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay.’’
— Oliver Goldsmith (1770)
Today I learned of the death of Tony Judt, eminent historian, scholar, and, if there were such an official capacity, vigilant keeper of our society’s moral compass. I am not prone to tears, but I burst out weeping when I read of his dying. I felt as if the entire species had lost one of its most precious resources: an indefatigably good and just man. Tony Judt fought two seemingly impossible battles: one with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), and one with our culture’s decreasing capacity to choose virtuous action over moral decay in its lurch towards material gain and efficiency.FULL ENTRY
By Maryanne Wolf
Reading transforms the human brain, which transforms the mind, which transforms the life of every reader. All of this is about to change, and no one of us knows how.
In his recent book, "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,'' Nicholas Carr argues that reading in the medium of the Internet is “rerouting our neural pathways, replacing the subtle mind of the book reader with the distracted mind of the screen watcher.” He bases many of his thought-provoking conclusions on work in the neurosciences, including some of my own on the reading brain. In his upcoming book, "I Live in the Future: & Here is How It Works,'' Nick Bilton argues that such technology will be the basis for the greatest explosion of knowledge in minds that have been expanded through the use of digital media.FULL ENTRY