|"One of [the jobs of the stewards of culture] was to stand for the passage of knowledge and understanding, better tastes, and they had a duty. It was their responsibily as the elders to induct seventeen- and eighteen year-olds into better things, into more serious endeavors."|
Mark Bauerlein joins us in this conversation to talk about the ways of learning and living practiced by contemporary youth, how they impact the acquisition and use of knowledge and form intellectual habits, and what this means for the future of our society. Bauerlein is concerned that the level of immediate and continual connection between youths made possible and reinforced by modern technologies so absorbs and entrenches them in the minutiae of their peers that it is difficult to present and address aspects of life missing from their adolescent experience. Because of the ubiquity of this environment, how it pervades their existence in all the places where mobile communications reach, the particular nature and qualities of teen experience and the effects of this continual experience is greatly magnified to the exclusion of steadfast attentiveness, focused reading of literature, and personal and social maturation over time. Institutions and authorities which cultivate the latter fall by the wayside in the face of cultural forces that cater to, reinforce, and exploit natural adolescent inclinations.
The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30) (Tarcher, 2008)
Technology and Culture