Jeff Jarvis talks about the Gutenberg Parenthesis. Those who bemoan the supposed short attention spans of the networked generation, typically measure this by the capacity or willingness to read a book cover-to-cover. This assumes that reading books is normal; but what about the vast span of human history before books? Perhaps we’re seeing a reversion to ways of knowing that were diminished by the printed word… to a more oral culture in which remixing is natural.
This reminds me of the book, The Alphabet and the Goddess which also suggests that reading had a powerful and not always positive effect on how we think and behave.
What we have lost during the Gutenberg parenthesis I think is the ability to think systemically. Book reading has taught us to be linear and to expect a beginning a middle and an end. That is not the way the world works and I think we ignore it at our peril.
This is a little bit I think of what we will taste in our module at the ALIA Summer Institute this year.