- what will the computer change and how quickly will that change happen?
- rediscover the writings and values of the classical Greeks
- coupled Aristotle's observational science with illustrations (first, block print, later copperplate engravings)
- transformed out epistemology from inwardly introspective to outwardly experimental, in part because the message embedded in the medium of books is that knowledge comes from outside ourselves
- create new observational sciences such as botany, anatomy, geography and ethnography
- led us away from deductive philosophies
How quickly did those changes happen?
1450: printing press invented by Gutenberg ()
1454,5: Gutenberg Bible produced (Gutenberg Bible )
1456-mid 80s: classical and religious books were produced, essentially copies of profitable old manuscript books
1484: the first scientific illustrations appeared in books
So, it's reasonable to assume that the older generation has to die out before the new generation can find their own path. Although the older generation has it's share of creative visionaries they are marginalised by the majority.
Lienhard also warns that we have never been able to predict the future, that it is created by the younger generation. So what principles should the adults, who currently control things, follow, in shaping a future we cannot predict? Lienhard recommends:
- Seek out our own ignorance, that wisdom is having some awareness of our ignorance
- Good people make good machines. Bad people make bad machines.
- Don't try to plan the future, rather create a flexible present, so that the future can bend and find its own shape
The current older generation is embedded in print culture and blind to deficiencies in that culture, just like a fish swimming in water is not aware of the water
Greek philosophers who were there at the start were suspicious of print culture.
Socrates complained about writing. He felt it forced one to follow an argument rather than participate in it, and he disliked both its alienation and it persistence. He was unsettled by the idea that a manuscript travelled without the author, with whom no argument was possible. Worse, the author could die and never be talked away from the position taken in the writing.Marshall McLuhan argued that alphabetical and print culture elevated homogenous visual experience and relegated auditory and other sensuous complexity to the background and that this fostered a specialist outlook mentality(The Gutenberg Galaxy )
- Alan Kay: Computer, Networks and Education. Scientific American September 1991
Print culture has produced amazing things. But we now have a younger generation who have grown up in new media. And we don't really understand what it all means.
The incunabula refers to the infancy of printing, before 1500. Cunae means cradle
We live in the age of a new cradle, the computer. But in Schools everything seems locked down and inflexible. Learn Office. Learn Applications. User Interface is a given. Block the read/write web. At a time when we should be encouraging the young to invent the future and usher in new ways of thinking and doing, the general educational School use of computers is becoming less flexible.