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Hello everyone! My sincere apologies that I have not been posting of late. I like to think that it just goes to show that I have a life in that novel place known as the real world. However, as I’ve been traveling around the world the last four weeks, I have been doing a lot of thinking about the AFLI. Some of your comments have been thought-provoking, and I welcome your input. Inspired partially by all of you, there are a few changes I plan to make in the near future which will hopefully make the AFLI a more effective organization. Keep your fingers crossed that I can finish thinking the issues through and bring the AFLI up a notch real soon. In the meantime, there is much to say. Here is some tasty stuff to think about…
Dr. Boli, that favorite fellow of mine, has this to say about the net:
2. Alan Jacobs says this, which applies well to Facebook, I think:
“I don’t think that Tolstoy vs. lolcats is just a matter of taste. To be sure, not everyone needs to read Tolstoy; most people don’t need to read Tolstoy. It would be nice if more people did, but it’s not socially or personally necessary.
What is necessary, I think, is for all of us to be engaged in some activity that challenges us, that tests our intellectual limits. For some people that might be reading Tolstoy, while for others it might involve writing code or learning Klingon. But as Lanier says, “You have to be somebody before you can share yourself,” and being somebody is an achievement. It requires intentional labor, and a degree of personal ambition — and anyone can work and strive, though some have farther to go than others. But a lot of fooling around on the internet is just that, fooling around: it doesn’t test our resources or stretch our capacities. In many cases that’s fine, because we shouldn’t be working all the time: but even if fooling around on the internet really does somehow increase social creative capital — which I have no reason to believe — it doesn’t achieve a damned thing for the person doing it.”
I concur with Jacobs. Exactly. You have to be somebody before you can share yourself. One of my pet peeves about Facebook. Pointlessness, unnatural gossip, and fake identities. It’s Narcissism Central. Literally.
3. This is also interesting:
“Children growing up in homes with many books get 3 years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation, and class. This is as great an advantage as having university educated rather than unschooled parents, and twice the advantage of having a professional rather than an unskilled father. It holds equally in rich nations and in poor; in the past and in the present; under Communism, capitalism, and Apartheid; and most strongly in China. Data are from representative national samples in 27 nations, with over 70,000 cases, analyzed using multi-level linear and probit models with multiple imputation of missing data.”
So this talk about books being in a state of demise… well, I sincerely hope it is phony. I doubt having Kindles in the home is going to help make kids smarter.
(Source: First Things Online)
4. Last thing. Here is a lovable pic from Unhappy Hipsters which sums up modern man pretty neatly:
Without the daily self-portraits, he feared he might disappear completely.
(Photo: Kent Dayton; Dwell, Jan/Feb 2004)
Seriously. This reminds me of when (after an hour long class) I watched a girl check her phone and exclaim: “Nobody loves me! I don’t have any texts!” People need to reclaim their ability to be free and independent thinkers and not merely fish in the current. People looking for love need to depend on something much sturdier than technology. People need to quit Facebook. JUST QUIT THE THE DEMONIC THING! PLEASE! By the way, that pic is going in my dorm room. Ha, ha. As always, I am grateful for your comments and insight. I promise that I do take your thoughts into consideration, even if I am too busy to respond promptly. Long live the glorious AFLI!
Savvy J. Buckner
A few days ago over at Text Patterns, Alan Jacobs offered this interesting excerpt from an article by Jed Perl:
“Writing, before it is anything else, is a way of clarifying one’s thoughts. This is obviously true of forms such as the diary, which are inherently solitary. But even those of us who write for publication can conclude, once we have clarified certain thoughts, that these thoughts are not especially valuable, or are not entirely convincing, or perhaps are simply not thoughts we want to share with others, at least not now. For many of us who love the act of writing — even when we are writing against a deadline with an editor waiting for the copy — there is something monastic about the process, a confrontation with one’s thoughts that has a value apart from the proximity or even perhaps the desirability of any other reader. I believe that most writing worth reading is the product, at least to some degree, of this extraordinarily intimate confrontation between the disorderly impressions in the writer’s mind and the more or less orderly procession of words that the writer manages to produce on the page. . . .
I am not saying that writers need to be or ought to be isolated, either from other writers or from the reading public at large. But writers must to some degree believe that they are alone with their own words. And writers who are alone with their words will quite naturally, from time to time, conclude that some of those words should remain private. This needs to be emphasized right now, when so few people in the publishing industry understand why anything that has been written, and especially written by a well-known author, should not be published, and not published with the widest possible readership in mind.
. . . What I fear is that many readers are coming to believe that a writer who holds something back from publication is somehow acting unnaturally. Nobody understands the extent to which, even for the widely acclaimed author with ready access to publication, the process of writing can sometimes necessitate a rejection or at least an avoidance of one’s own readers. That silence is a part of writing — that the work of this day or this week or even this year might for good reason be withheld — is becoming harder and harder to comprehend.”
Mr. Jacobs added: “The dominance in our culture of social networking, especially but not only Facebook, intensifies this problematic situation. Shyness and introversion, as a search for either of those words on Amazon.com will show you, are regularly seen as pathologies; Eric Schmidt thinks that if you don’t want Google to know everything about you you must have something discreditable to hide; Mark Zuckerberg believes, or says he believes, that the exposure of your life on Facebook promotes honesty and integrity. Clearly there are people who would like to see a social stigma attached to a concern for privacy: will they succeed in making it happen?”