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seeking wisdom

I have academic crushes on two scholars: Neil Postman (deceased, but “conversing” with me well after his death) and Nassim Nicholas Taleb. From my readings so far, these two men are unparalleled in the crystal clarity with which they understand human faults as seen through a lens of love. Even when cranky, they’re insightful, articulate, and compassionate in their embrace of all of what it means to be human.

Also, they make me laugh.

So: academic crush.

I love it when someone says or writes something that gives me a chance to contemplate either Postman or Taleb. This morning, that unexpected prompt came from one of my earliest blogging friends, Victoria. In “I’m going to stop,” Victoria explains that (and why) she’s done with news. 

Before I read Postman, I thought I disliked Facebook because of the tone of dialogue there–how it was less dialogue and more turn-taking shouting-at, often even in relatively friendly conversation. After reading Postman, I understood that there was more to my dislike than that: I was experiencing “information glut.” There was too much information, and almost all of it was abstracted from anything I could do, anything that would improve lives, anything that could possibly make me think, “Man, consuming that was totally the best use of my time!”

If you’d like to read more of my off-the-cuff ramblings on information glut, check comments on Victoria’s blog. If you’d like to just read a little bit more about why Postman describes information as a “form of garbage,” check out the Technopoly excerpt here. If you’d like to read even more than that, which I highly encourage, read Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death. And then Technopoly. And then How to Watch TV News.

Postman brings me hope. Victoria brings me hope. You, sitting here wondering whether it might be worth it to check out some Postman, bring me hope, whether or not you ever do read any Postman. You’re reading others here on WordPress, listening, reflecting, and carrying the seeds its posters plant in case any may someday bloom, all while planting your own.

You’re seeking something more than unusable information. You’re seeking connection and compassionate comprehension, the same as me. You’re seeking something better than mere “information”: wisdom, which incorporates information but is so much greater than it.

Enough information already! Let’s hear it for the tenacious pursuit of wisdom in a world where the sheer volume of noise can make wisdom hard to grow.

  1. November 4, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Yes. Thank you for your kind words. Much love to you and yours. I’m so happy that we have been able to keep hold of our thread of connection, no matter how thinly stretched it may seem.

    ps: your italics formatting (that’s what I think you wanted, anyway) above hasn’t worked

    • November 4, 2017 at 11:18 am

      Fixed, thanks! I can’t imagine what prompted me to slip back into manually coded HTML, which I haven’t had to use … since I’ve been on WordPress, at least! :p

      • November 4, 2017 at 11:19 am

        (You know, it’s like when I walk into a store and hand them my credit card as if it’s still 1996. These things just happen sometimes, hee.)

  2. November 4, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    I have never heard of Postman but now I need to check him out!

    • November 5, 2017 at 6:11 am

      Anthony kept trying to find Amusing Ourselves to Death in his childhood home bedroom, but couldn’t do it. He happened to find some copies at a book sale and picked one up for me. I’m so glad he did. While reading Chernow’s Hamilton brought a very narrow history to life for me, Postman brought history itself alive. This pretty much changed everything for me. 🙂

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