This convergence cannot be good.
- The century old magazine “The New Republic” has essentially disappeared. Some might argue that it had been abandoned by its readers. Likely true to a point. There may no longer be a place for long, well-researched articles intended to provide the philosophy of a subject.
- The late New York Times columnist, William Safire, in his book, “Lend Me Your Ears” said, “people do not read as they once did; today, if you cannot get your message in a paragraph, forget it” Mr. Safire believed people had a 20-second attention span for serious matters. The book appeared more than 20 years ago. People today likely want about 140 characters as opposed to a paragraph and 3 -second clips are common.
- Food we eat is a much lower share of income than it was 50 years ago, but if the same diet was consumed as 50 years ago, the share of income would be about the same
You might wonder why the food reference is there. It is because I wanted to use another 20-year-old Safire quote.
“Our food for thought is junk food”
It is time that we noticed that data precedes information and that information precedes knowledge. A data point is not knowledge because it is not part of a well constructed system. It might not even be universally true.
Wisdom is the last stage. That involves applying meaning to knowledge. As we find the world now, there is little well orchestrated decision making, with testing of outcomes, and killing off the things that fail.
Critical thinking is a dying art. As parents, advisors, leaders and citizens of earth, we must regain the ability to discover, reflect, analyze and reason solutions to complicated problems. Failure to do so will lead us further down the path of charisma and facile solutions offered by self-serving narcissists.
We need more of thought inducing magazines, not fewer. There is little chance we will see more and that is to our detriment. Twitter cannot provide a developed thought.
A person does not truly know a thing until they know what the thing means. We are losing, perhaps have already lost the ability to assess meaning. Decisions without the meaning component are poor decisions.
Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org