Feature

How we’re being trained to think

In “Zuckerberg’s Revolution,” human beings are “all thumbs and no brains,” said Neal Gabler in the Los Angeles Times.

Neal GablerLos Angeles Times

If “the medium is the message,” how are text messages and Facebook updates shaping human consciousness? asked Neal Gabler. The invention of the printing press—“Gutenberg’s Revolution”—was “rightly considered one of the signal moments in human history” because the “immutability” and “logic” of the written word fostered disciplined and complex thinking. Today, however, many young people spend much of their time e-mailing, texting, and tweeting online “friends” about such “effluvium” as what they ate for lunch or what movie they saw last night—in abbreviated language that’s often barely literate.

And the screen keeps shrinking. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, “America’s favorite boy genius,” recently announced a new online messaging system, and proclaimed that e-mail is officially dead because it’s so long-winded. “Communication 2.0,” he said, must be “seamless, informal, immediate, personal, simple, minimal, and short.” There’s the future for you—one in which words are abundant, but exist mainly to express the trivial and the transitory. In “Zuckerberg’s Revolution,” human beings are “all thumbs and no brains.”

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