Very interesting book on the way technology has influenced us as a society, and how that influence trickles into not only what we can do, but what we believe.
One of the more profound discussions is how reading and writing have transformed our Western society, especially America and affected the way we interact with one another (community) and the way we approach our faith.
When my daughter Harper was two, we started singing the ABC song together. In the process we introduced her to one of the most powerful technologies the world has ever known. It’s the one you are consuming right now: the technology of letters, the invention of writing. In a way, teaching her how to read is actually teaching her brain to do something completely unnatural. The skills of walking and talking arrived intuitively over time, but reading and writing forced her brain to operate in a way that was not innate. She had to learn to compress reality into line after line of strange shapes arranged in sequence. Such a technology takes work to master and, when mastered, completely transforms our consciousness.
Also some very interesting thoughts on the difference between the way we view words vs. images:
Our brains process printed words and images in different ways. The printed word is processed primarily in the left hemisphere of the brain, which specializes in logic, sequence, and categories. Images are processed primarily in the right hemisphere, which specializes in intuition and holistic perception rather than linear analysis. I apprehend an image all at once, while I read text word-by-word and line-by-line.
In the simplest sense, written words stimulate and liberate the imagination. Images, on the other hand, usually captivate the imagination. When you read the statement “The boy is sad,” your mind could create any image it desired for that statement. The number of possibilities was only limited by the amount of time spent thinking about them. But when you saw the picture of the sad boy, the image fed you every last detail. There was only one specific possibility, so your imagination was no longer required. These differences make it impossible for the finite choices of a movie director to match the infinite choices of a book’s readers.
More of a series of essays than a complete work from beginning to end, if you’re looking for a book that’ll make you think about technology and faith, Shane provides great food for thought.