The Dangers Of Externalizing Knowledge


Contemplating the shortcomings of the younger generation has ever been a hobby of the elder. As I start to transition to the latter population (perhaps a bit early for my age), I’ve found myself worrying more and more about the kids, and how little they seem to appreciate things. That kind of complaint is neither constructive or original. But the fact is that the kids are growing up pretty weird these days, because of the way technology has outpaced our institutions of learning and standards of knowledge.

The short attention span and reliance on non-text media are to be expected in an age where attention is indulged by on-demand information, and the effects of these things will continue to be written about, rightly and wrongly. There is a more subtle and insidious trend, however, that may prove to be more damaging than tech-born changes in learning modality.

It’s a process that has been going on for a long time, but that recent developments may push to the breaking point. The problem, as I see it, is that we have stopped valuing the accumulation of information within ourselves.

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