Friday, June 15, 2007

What Can We Teach the Hive Mind

I have been enjoying the discussions going on over at the Brittannica Blog immensely these last few days. Thanks to Joyce Valenza for pointing me there.

Of note today is the final quote from Gregory McNamee in which he states what I believe is the truest challenge to all of us out there, not just the scholarati:

The challenge is to teach consumers of information how to
distinguish the good from the bad, to recognize that junk data is as
bad for the brain as junk food is bad for the body.

Failing that, the future belongs to the hive mind and a new kind of person indeed.

McNamee makes his title reference clear throughout his short post: Maoism and the Mass Mind. What I wish is that someone would explain to me the dreadfulness of individualized search for meaning and education through reflection. The statement that

"Totalitarianism begins at the moment when bad information drives out good information, when the idea of expertise is tossed out the door in favor of the vague idea that anyone’s opinion is as good as anyone else’s. Totalitarianism requires ignorance.

is so unnecessarily inflammatory. Mr. McNamee, instead of decrying the dearth of expertise, teach your students or employees how to create it in the manner that you require.

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