The 21st C Learner
We are going to explore the direction the world is heading in this digital age. The world of devices; iPods, iPhones and of course the computer. Let’s first cast our minds back to when our species emerged from the primeval swamp and began to walk on two legs. One of the first things that we learnt to do was tell stories to each other around a fire. This type of activity is deep inside us, we seem to have a need to sit and listen to people telling stories.
In the past these stories didn’t last. They blew away on the wind but they stayed in the memory or what we call the wet wear and these stories were sometimes transmitted to the next generation. That’s how many of the earliest poets and story tellers had their stories recorded. Homer for instance had his stories told around a fire in groups about the Iliad and so on and it eventually got written down because we invented a technology that involved leaving impressions in wax or clay and then marks on fabric or animal skin or later in Egypt papyrus based technology that we call paper.
Now you know all this it’s not new or particularly interesting but its worth remembering that we are all simply descendants of these same groups of people who once sat around fires listening to stories being told.
Now about two thousand years ago people started storing these stories on bits of paper on which they had written down. All this carried on for a thousand years scratches and symbols meant.
This allowed us to create art or other spiritual things and it’s these that engage us no matter how cool or technologically advanced we become. We are still the same people as the cavemen sitting around the fire. Then the church took over for hundreds of years and we lived through the dark ages where information and its communication were controlled by only those that had the knowledge of deciphering the technology. Therefore essentially 99% of humanity was kept in the dark and much of our learning and creativity was lost.
This continued until in the Middle East and in china wooden blocks were carved and us3ed as a way of mass reproduction of information. Then in 1450 Guttenberg invented the moving type that lead to printing. This meant that someone could have an idea in one country and write it down take it to a printer and spread that idea around the world to anybody who could also decipher the letter and squiggles. Between 1450 and 1500 50 million books were made. Suddenly you were able to reproduce without error people’s thoughts and ideas. So people were able to think for themselves and these thoughts were put down in books.
Technology and communicating were advancing exponentially with the invention of photography, the phonograph, radio, television and finally the internet. Well as you know in the last ten years technology has exploded and in away it has returned us to sitting around the fire or computer screen listening to stories in groups with no barriers between us and the rest of humanity if we have the skills and ability to use technology.