TRAGEDY OF LITERACY, TOL, "Literacy Invites Passivity, Education Compels It." - Let's Prehend
Let's Prehend
A Manual of Human Ecology and Culture Design

TRAGEDY OF LITERACY, TOL, "Literacy Invites Passivity, Education Compels It."

For millions of years, throughout evolutionary history, humans and pre-humans communicated in the multi-leveled complex mode of organic systems.

The development of speech was surely a move toward the inherent abstraction of verbal life. Fortunately, most personal and social process was, and is, non-verbal - as a glimpse at any family will attest, even Irish families. Verbal life is inherently abstract, as if it raised the level of consciousness and necessarily displaced the nuance and complexity of deeper organic communications.

To grasp life without speech, imagine how a dog lives, in a vast complex of internal and external multisensory cues, with consciousness rising as one process among many when the need arises. Barking itself, when it is indulged as a moment of intense consciousness, occupies the dogs total awareness. Ask any dog. Similarly, the sea mammals communicate with sound and because the density and conductivity of the sea is so similar to their bodies, they are transparent to each other, like lovers.

Awareness by itself over emphasizes the importance and dominance of awareness, because it is a minor system in itself. Raising awareness is more apt to narrow the mind's focus rather than manifest deeper more complex integrations. On the D CHART OF MIND, Fig. 3-4 p.48, consciousness tends to oscillate up left in the contraction expansion dynamic, rather than up straight, or up right.

Thus, the verbal life enabled the great con of consciousness. People could learn to live in spoken words - or believe they did. This elemental idealism allowed verbal communication to elevate itself above the fabric of organic life into an abstract life of the word. Every folk culture has jokes about the superficiality of words, and every religion addresses the issue of dissociation of words from life. Yet this compulsion to abstract life, CAL, has continued throughout human evolution.

The crowning glory, or the crowning blow, was the development of the written word. Writing enabled the dehumanization of memory, the further depersonalization of words and the formalization of institutions - in general, the further abstraction of human life.

Literacy was one huge leap for mankind into modern abstract culture. It allowed people to experience life without being part of life, to dissociate their experience from their behavior. But most seriously, to live vicariously and withdraw another step from the richness of organic social life, to put their energy into reading and writing instead of enriching and indulging organic social life.

A particular tragedy is what literacy did to the female gender. In THE *ALPHABET VS THE GODDESS, Leonard *Shlain (SF MD) describes the beginnings of written word as the transforming trigger from matriarchy to patriarchy. War against women and non verbal images persists - from in *Whyte's Western Dissociation to its extreme in the US cronies gone mad, the Afghani Taliban. He also cites the loss of literacy in the dark ages related to the resurgence of romantic chivalry and the resurgence of Mary in the Roman Church.

As some stages of history, some females, driven by the boring stresses of upper class life, learned to read and began to substitute literacy for life. Being the gender most skilled at communication, they naturally excelled.

Realizing the danger, both personal and racial, men tried to limit or restrict female literacy. But the weaker and richer men succumbed and allowed their women to withdraw into the new abstractions. This upper class disease has since permeated the mass culture, making it increasingly rare for females to participate in any organic culture, if they can afford to avoid it. This is not the best solution to overpopulation.

Increasing numbers of wealthy women are too poor to bear children, and if they do, they are too poor to care for them and must hire the lower classes to corral them. Instead, they spend their lives in COGly life, mostly dealing with words on paper and screen. Their inherent skills of `active listening' are sacrificed to the new skills and roles enabled by their literacy - they don't listen.[ As O. J. Simpson said, "What can you do when they don't listen?"] Furthermore, their demands on the men become increasingly abstract, demanding verbal assertions of various sorts, presumably as an exercise of power and justification for the abstract mode.

The written word has become supreme in recent history, displacing much of organic social life and culture and enabling modern abstract culture to advance toward its seemingly fated OMNICIDE. The WARRIOR ETHICs have been brutally codified into laws and policies, allowing otherwise innocent children-of-god to spend their lives contributing more or less to the harassment, degradation, and destruction of the humankind, as MAOs. Literacy with its education tears children from meaningful life or work and induces them to accept MAC as a positive value. These unfortunate children spend their lives in innocent helplessness, their integrity and their skills sacrificed with the aid of the written word. Many withdraw or rebel and some use guns.

Fortunately the dominance of literacy is a brief pathology in the long evolution of human life. The written word is being quickly replaced with new technologies. Just as a picture is worth a thousand words, so an audiovisual image is worth ten thousand, and with interactive access, more than that. Not only will thousands of trees be saved by a few grains of sand, but human communication has the option of returning to a more organic mode, Marshall *McLuhan, Jerry *Mander and Clifford *Stoll[ See Clifford *Stoll *SILICON SNAKE OIL. A lively and humorous debunking of the value of computer communication as inhuman, "... not enough skin ..."] notwithstanding. New communications technology approaches ordinary preliterate human communication in its complexity, plus the option to bridge space and time, to make all humankind one family.

Dr Shlain points out that reading elicits beta brain waves, whereas the more intuitive or hypnotic TV results in the more meditative alpha and theta mental modes. The new technologies may worsen CAL, but also offer enriched organic life. This crucial evolution should be guided not by MOM p?, but by human intelligence through CULTURE DESIGN.

Ego often contracts as much as it can afford. In communications, the new media and the NET continues to isolate and dehumanize the population. Only vigorous and pervasive culture design can turn this disaster toward increase human value and health. (JELLY AND JAM, p.261.)

A renaissance of organic human communication also depends on a reconstruction of organic social and political life - as does the survival of mankind and the ecosystem.

(The editor insists that this thesis, TOL, be disclosed an attempt to elicit energetic opposition for the sake of lively seminars, and to aggravate English majors.)

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