Sunday, December 06, 2009

List Making

Even when Umberto Eco talks about something as mundane as a list, he can give the reader enough to ponder over for days. The interview makes for fascinating reading as does anything written by Eco.
SPIEGEL: Why do we waste so much time trying to complete things that can't be realistically completed?
Eco: We have a limit, a very discouraging, humiliating limit: death. That's why we like all the things that we assume have no limits and, therefore, no end. It's a way of escaping thoughts about death. We like lists because we don't want to die.
It would be hard to look at to-do or shopping lists the same again after reading this. Of Google Eco has this to say :
Google makes a list, but the minute I look at my Google-generated list, it has already changed. These lists can be dangerous -- not for old people like me, who have acquired their knowledge in another way, but for young people, for whom Google is a tragedy. Schools ought to teach the high art of how to be discriminating.
There is something reactionary and hidebound in not wanting children to grow too dependent on Google and learn to source information from other sources the more painful, old fashioned way. I am guilty of doing this myself. Weaning kids off Google is difficult because it so dramatically simplifies their lives. Spending a few minutes doing a search on their topic is all takes kids to get their job done. As a parent who grew up before the internet happened, it is probably natural to worry about a child's absolute dependence on Internet search fearing that it can kill intellectual curiosity and make a young person flat out lazy.

2 comments:

LIFE_REFACTORED said...

I think what you have described is called 'Evolution'. I say this because, I'm reminded of my younger days when my grandma used to complain that the Sumeet Mixie made things too easy and cooking will never be the same. My father complained that cell phones were a bane and no one needed it since we have always managed to survive without it for what thousands of years. My own fear is the Google is a Skynet in making. But I guess we are in this sea called life, we cannot make its rules, we cannot change the tide, nor can we stop the wind, but the sail we can raise and lower, the rudder we can steer, the oars we can pull. This sea keeps changing, so must we like we have for all these thousands of years.
yaawn... .what have i become...i must go and watch a good masala movie to shake myself awake

Heartcrossings said...

Life Refactored - So true about the Sumeet Mixie - I can't remember the last time I ate a home cooked meal that did not involve the use of modern appliances and pre-mixed pastes and spices. My grandmother used to do everything the long form, old fashioned way but she is over eighty now and ailing.