Are computers the way to go? “There are skeptics who maintain that computers are having the opposite effect on us: they are making us less happy, and perhaps even stupider. Among the first to raise this possibility was the American literary critic Sven Birkerts. In his book The Gutenberg Elegies, Birkerts argued that the computer and other electronic media were destroying our capacity for ‘deep reading’. His writing students, thanks to their digital devices, had become mere skimmers and scanners and scrollers. They couldn’t lose themselves in a novel the way he could. This didn’t bode well, Birkerts thought, for the future of literary culture.”
Far from practicing witchcraft, the experimentation of medieval alchemists helped bring about the Scientific Revolution.
Innovative thinking has done away with problems that long dogged the electric devices — and both scientists and environmentalists are excited about the possibilities.
Along with gravitational lensing and ALMA’s incredible long-wavelength spectroscopy, JWST is reshaping our view of the early Universe.
Adopting a healthy scepticism towards inherited ideas means “emptying the container of the Self.”