Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Plato's concern

‎When was the last time you heard a parent complain about their child reading too much?

400 years BC, this was a concern for Plato. He was as worried about the impact of reading and writing on the brain as we are now about digital technologies.

"For this invention of yours will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn it, by causing them to neglect their memory, inasmuch as, from their confidence in writing, they will recollect by the external aid of foreign symbols, and not by the internal use of their own faculties..."

There is no halting progress but all these new-fangled inventions, from the printed book to the iPhone have their up and down sides. The key is making the most of them without losing sight of the necessity for balance.

Any new technology is a good servant but a bad master, so it's worth teaching ourselves and our children the use of the metaphorical "off" button, too and the benefits of concentrating on one thing at a time rather than perpetual multi-tasking.

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