Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Did someone here mention this before?

davidwarrenonline.com - ESSAYS ON OUR TIMES
I had suspected before that people do not retain what they read on computer screens as well as what they read in print. After my five-week experiment, I am quite sure of this. Partly for the wealth of physical associations in print reading, and partly from other causes, our memories favour the tangible. We confirm this point instinctively, every time we print out a long article.

This is a serious matter, for as any competent pedagogue could assure us, what is not retained was never adequately processed in the first place. So while the Internet provides a festival of information, it also subverts the comprehension of all things humane.


Dag said...

I hate reading things on the Internet. I can't recall in the evening what I've written myself in the morning. I don't watch television because it's a vacuum. Anything that would interest me on tv is not there. I could look at a documentary and see a place I would like to go to, but I wouldn't be there, and I wouldn't have any legitimate experience having seen the tv. In doing both I still wouldn't have a real experience from tv. I might have a false understanding from memory perverted by strong images.

Library books, too, are little good to me other than in a pinch. I can't underline in them without serious screaming from other people. I can't bend the pages and scribble marginalia to make sure I got the point or made one myself.

I have this problem too with photography and with typing. So I try to look at what I see; and I sit down and take out my pen and notebook and go through the tedious manual labor of writing on paper whatever comes to mind.

Today I finished page 69 of the second chapter of my essay on Alienation and Authenticity. Foolscap and tiny, spidery printing without margins on single-spaced pages. I recall it well, line by line. And the 109 pages of chapter one, and the 97 pages of chapter three. When I'm done, I'll type it all and read it through and see what I have. On Paper. It'll be real and "justified."

Will I recall this comment tomorrow? I doubt it.

Eowyn said...

I agree with the post in principle; but I question whether it's a by-product of "instant-ness." I actually celebrate the "instant" accessibility of information; but only insofar as it helps me either reinforce, or change, already held ideas.

I suspect the vast majority of internet surfers are only looking for ever-more-instant gratification, rather than knowledge.