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And No More Words for All

Not so long ago, there was a little boy who in his childhood, all he did was watch television. The medium fascinated him. The attraction kept him hooked. The visual experience was wonderful, never seen before and very different. The movies and the serials with their realistic portrayal of characters would allow him to picturize his favorite hero instead of merely trying to imagine from the words as in books.
The days rolled. He soon passed out of his high school. The television meant a lot to him all these years. The sole medium which responded to his innermost sense. The picturization made it all easy. He didn’t have to think of anything. The images spoke on his behalf.
Meanwhile, the class assignments got tougher with increasing grades. The level of writing required raised by a notch. That meant  not only coming out with inventive ideas but also putting it precisely. The readings were getting more difficult for their level of vocabulary. The demand kept on raising.
The epoch wasn’t still around. Then came the college – which taught ideas that could be elaborated using words – which was a nightmare round the corner. Could the boy who mastered the visualization of concepts because of his video viewing experience, seeing every action, deciphering them at ease falter? Did it take a toll?
This was a scenario in the form of a story I was thinking about ,though the storyline here is abruptly cut short. Finally, after reading an article in New Yorker by Caleb Crain, my questions are answered about is it really worth giving up books for learning through videos. I will give two excerpts which I found to be relevant here.

Excerpt #1:

The Internet, happily, does not so far seem to be antagonistic to
literacy. Researchers recently gave Michigan children and teen-agers
home computers in exchange for permission to monitor their Internet use.
The study found that grades and reading scores rose with the amount of
time spent online. Even visits to pornography Web sites improved
academic performance. Of course, such synergies may disappear if the
Internet continues its YouTube-fuelled evolution away from print and
toward television.

Excerpt #2:

After all, there is no one looking back at the television viewer. He is alone, though he, and his brain, may be too distracted to notice it. The reader is also alone, but the N.E.A. reports that readers are more likely than non-readers to play sports, exercise, visit art museums, attend theatre, paint, go to music events, take photographs, and volunteer. Proficient readers are also more likely to vote. Perhaps readers venture so readily outside because what they experience in solitude gives them confidence. Perhaps reading is a prototype of independence. No matter how much one worships an author, Proust wrote, “all he can do is give us desires.” Reading somehow gives us the boldness to act on them. Such a habit might be quite dangerous for a democracy to lose.

Excerpts from The New Yorker

Categories: Reflections
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