Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Presentism

Lot of great ideas and thoughts in this article about what should we be worrying about. One that stood out for me was about presentism by Noga Arikha

I worry about the prospect of collective amnesia.
While access to information has never been so universal as it is now — thanks to the Internet — the total sum of knowledge of anything beyond the present seems to be dwindling among those people who came of age with the Internet. Anything beyond 1945, if then, is a messy, remote landscape; the centuries melt into each other in an insignificant magma. Famous names are flickers on a screen, their dates irrelevant, their epochs dusty. Everything is equalized.
This rings so true when I think about how J is learning history in school and her general awareness of the history. Everything she could possibly want to know about is just a click away. The grandeur or the significance of a historical event does not afford it any special recognition in what a search result about it may yield. There are no markers to indicate that a certain event is worth pausing and pondering over. And the present is all consuming. In the deluge of information each day generates, it is easy to forget all about the last year never mind the last century or beyond. 

Timescale is a hard concept to grasp if it is measured by or corelated to the amount of available information. The last year could easily overwhelm all of what can be searched about a century in the past. 

No comments: