The ICT rev­o­lu­tion has un­leashed in­di­vid­ual and group de­fi­cien­cies

Stabroek News - - LETTERS -

Dear Editor, The world is no longer flat. It has shrunk to the point where it is now the thin sil­hou­ette of a plane, as in the very nar­row line of a tight cir­cle. Nowhere is this more ev­i­dent than in the rapid fire de­vel­op­ments spurring tech­nol­ogy ad­vances. At the zenith of these soar­ing gains is the fall­out dis­cerned in the dumb­ing down and degra­da­tion of com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Here are all these won­drous breath­tak­ing In­for­ma­tion Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy revo­lu­tions; they rep­re­sent vast open fron­tiers of learn­ing, grow­ing, and tri­umph­ing when cap­i­tal­ized upon wisely. Yet I sense and am be­com­ing in­creas­ingly fa­mil­iar with the con­sid­er­able in­di­vid­ual and group de­fi­cien­cies un­leashed by these same in­cred­i­ble ICT revo­lu­tions. It is where in­ter­ac­tions on the much trav­elled and crowded elec­tronic high­ways have su­per­seded other more tra­di­tional chan­nels, while se­verely lim­it­ing par­tic­i­pants, through back­ing them into a dis­mal kin­der­garten cor­ner. And from which they refuse to emerge.

To be­gin with, there is the one liner and not much more that has come to char­ac­ter­ize Twit­ter, What­sApp, and their other close cousins. A world leader best ex­em­pli­fies this form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, this stan­dard, and this chan­nel for mat­ters that range from the mean­ing­ful to the mun­dane. The mun­dane can be ex­cused or ig­nored, but the mean­ing­ful I dare­say can­not (and should not) be re­duced to the va­pid­ity and pueril­ity of ten word tweets. This may not only be undig­ni­fied and un­be­com­ing of cer­tain of­fices; it is also un­wise in the ex­treme, if not un­couth on oc­ca­sion.

Editor, I sub­mit that noth­ing that is com­pre­hen­sive, pos­sess­ing of real depth, or inar­guably pro­found can be sub­jected to the de min­imis re­duc­tion­ism of a mere dozen words; a long para­graph or a page per­haps, but not a hand­ful of cryptic words. This might work for the world of empty-headed celebri­ties or not-so-bright sports fig­ures or the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try; this might be ac­cept­able for jocks and those not ex­posed to much in the learn­ing depart­ment, but the same can­not be the norm for po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, for cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and for se­ri­ous ex­changes. It cer­tainly should not be the glar­ing stan­dard pre­vail­ing in the world of ed­u­ca­tion.

More and more, ed­u­ca­tion sub­mis­sions whether oral or writ­ten are rem­i­nis­cent of In­sta­gram and Twit­ter through the short quick pat­ters of rick­ety thought pre­sented. There is a jerk­i­ness, an abrupt­ness and, truth be told, a dumb­ness that brings flinch­ing in what is tabled in con­ver­sa­tion and doc­u­men­ta­tion. There is scant­i­ness in ex­pres­sion, as though the ad­vo­cates know English as a sec­ond lan­guage (and rather late in life), so there is not much that can be es­sayed for fear of trip­ping head­long over one’s feet. Since such a great deal of time and in­ter­est is ded­i­cated to the short stac­cato bursts em­bod­ied in Twit­ter and the rest, that same stac­cato stan­dard has now trans­ferred seam­lessly to the larger realms of se­ri­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tion and think­ing. There is not much given with which to work; or worse yet, any­thing more than can be pried out and ex­tracted. The vo­cab­u­lary and rhythm are just not there; the thought process is that heav­ily cur­tailed, given that read­ing is dis­carded as anath­e­matic and hos­tile ter­ri­tory.

There is nei­ther shame nor re­gret over the ap­pear­ance and re­al­ity of men­tal lim­i­ta­tions that in an­other time would be tan­ta­mount to a lack of man­hood. It is just the way things have evolved in the ICT revo­lu­tions, and are now firmly es­tab­lished as the ac­cepted rou­tines.

No books mean no read­ing; no read­ing

sig­ni­fies no sub­stance; no sub­stance rep­re­sents no stand­ing; and no stand­ing is the equiv­a­lent of no ex­is­tence. It is why, (per­mit me a quick aside) that I find so in­spir­ing the story in Kai­eteur News on Oc­to­ber 10th about the 30 blind stu­dents who will be com­plet­ing their CXC ex­am­i­na­tions. What an en­light­en­ing story in a world of sprawl­ing self-in­flicted dark­ness else­where. That is the dark ex­is­tence en­com­passed by Tweets ini­ti­ated for the most part by twits. So­phis­ti­cated so­ci­eties can af­ford the lux­ury of gam­bolling in the shal­low streams of ICT com­mu­ni­ca­tions; this peo­ple of this so­ci­ety, par­tic­u­larly the young, do not have such a lux­ury, as it will catch up with them in the long run. They will find that they can­not com­pete against the tsunami that is glob­al­iza­tion and its sharp over­pow­er­ing de­mands. Only the very tal­ented and very de­ter­mined will man­age to ex­pand hori­zons and get ahead. Mean­while, the great un­learned ma­jor­ity will re­main trapped and lim­ited by their time and cir­cum­stances of their own mak­ing. It is with­out present foun­da­tion; it could also be one lack­ing in a fu­ture. The sad irony is that the tools and re­sources of their age is what de­grade them to a state of near il­lit­er­acy. It is a liked and en­thu­si­as­ti­cally em­braced state. The very best of all that is at their fingertips go beg­ging for at­ten­tion and in­ter­est. And so they wither…. Yours faith­fully, GHK Lall

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