In this decade it is easy to notice that there exist trade offs between efficiency and authenticity. The opportunity costs and benefits associated with choosing one are increasingly becoming the determinants on consumer health in the United States and around the globe. As Richard E. Miller, Nicholas Carr and Maryanne Wolf suggest from the readings, the innocent efforts of beating time constraints to cook food, providing easier methods of communication for people in different countries and even the invention of search engines to easily find information are negatively impacting human behavior.
The authenticity versus efficiency argument is parallel to that of Socrates. As Maryanne Wolf clarifies “He believed that the seeming permanence of the printed word would delude them into thinking they had accessed the heart of knowledge, rather than simply decoding it.” Can we not compare this idea of readily access of knowledge to that of easy bake recipes such as Betty Crocker? Just as a book or now a Search Engine simplifies the time and efforts, we are missing a crucial step that is involved in the learning process and in a sense, it takes away from our humanity. The advancements in technology to make things easier strip away our right to work hard and evoke thought to generate appreciation for products. As a consequence, instead of enjoying an authentic meal from scratch we settle for the ‘easy bake’ method and not only lack the knowledge of the ingredients but limit ourselves of the possibilities and benefits that may exist otherwise!
In order to reap these benefits, Miller in his “The Coming Apocalypse” presents an idea to ‘teach thinking’. Wolf suggests the same thought when she says “The immediacy and volume of information should not be confused with true knowledge.” At first I did not understand what ‘true knowledge’ meant but after I read the “Is Google Making Us Stupid” article by Nicholas Carr I understand. In part of his article he too acknowledges Socrates view on knowledge and quotes that individuals “would be filled with the conceit of wisdom instead of real wisdom.” Although these authors shed light to the negative impacts of easily acquired information, they also agree that it can be taken advantage and used as a tool of to acquire a deeper knowledge a.k.a ‘to go to the next level of human intellect’.
In our increasingly fast paced environment, we have no time or interest to do the remedial steps of researching from an old, crinkly book or to prepare lunch(from scratch) when we have the inventions of Search Engines and Lunchables. In simple terms: It just seems redundant to do so! Why would I use a type writer when I could use my MacBook/PC?(At least these have a backspace…) The answer is a question(s): How authentically, from the basics, from scratch do you really want to live? And by doing so what skills and knowledge are you gaining as opposed to taking the easy or efficient route?
Questions To Ask Yourself: