The “Gutenburg Galaxy”

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Week #3

Title: This post comments on a article called “The Hidden Center of the “Gutenburg Galaxy”” by Steve Mizrach.

Comments: There were some fascinating ideas in this article. For instance, Plato believed that writing harmed our Art of Memory, or the ability to recall large amounts of information. He argued that writing makes us dependent upon the medium for information, instead of being able to rely on our own intelligence to provide the information we want and need. He also saw the benefits of writing, such as the ease of passing information safely over time, and between cultures without losing the details or other bits of information from the whole due to interpretation that occurs from oral history. He saw both sides of the issue.

The text goes on to describe the “Gutenburg Galaxy” in which technology is created by individuals for a distinct purpose within society. This is a kind of willful manipulation of technology to get the shift in culture which you might desire. This is an interesting theory, and one that I agree with.

When you look at how this applies to new media today, you see that the same concerns over writing during Plato’s time can be found now about electronic documents. People argue that something is lost in the transition between mediums, that they become depersonalized. I see this as a valid point, and one to watch out for as we improve upon our technology, but I still think the benefits of instant communication and sharing of information outweigh the negatives of electronic media.

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