4 comments on “Thoughts on Guy Deutscher and training to think better

  1. Hi, great post. I’ve read Deutscher’s book a few years ago and it was very enjoyable reading (still trying to persuade people ever since to use geographical directions instead of personal ones). I think it was GK Chesterton who once said that the diversity of objects in the world is the main reason for its wonderfulness. So naturally, one cannot observe that wonderful diversity without the ability to differentiate between objects. I think our continuing trend of communicating through smartphones, using emojies, memes and gifs, will have a profound impact on the way we think. The fact that you can use a simple symbol to let other people what you feel or think is already changing conversations between a lot of people, both on a personal and public level. This communication also has negative side effects (think of the political discourse, for example) but it also an easy, efficient way of expressing complex ideas and feelings that’s accessible to all people. In the long term, it might even enable us to understand each other better than with natural languages.

    • Thank you. I have to say, the whole “emojies, memes and gifs” issue seems overhyped to me – even as someone who uses the Internet way above the average person, I have very little use for emojies, and memes and gifs are just something I hear about occasionally. I’m not convinced they have much influence outside a small Internet subculture. When big changes to our languages come, I think they might come from other directions.

      • Perhaps you’re right, I don’t want to sound too exaggerating. Yet many forms of communication first started in a small subculture and later became mainstream (internet itself of course). From a general observation, people (mostly young) are using graphic symbols more and more instead of full sentences, as if it’s kind of a additional vocabulary one has to learn in order to join in the conversation. (I would have attach a meme here but can’t think of something relevant enough, alas).

  2. Pingback: Voice interfaces and the future of literacy | Shai Shapira

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