Modern society too often equates ”knowledge” with ”having the information” somewhere, most commonly in an electronic format.
With the expansion of the Google search engine and Wikipedia inter alia, we seem to be getting used to being content with knowing where to find information quickly and giving up on the need to memorize (especially for the long-term) too much new information, with the exception of content needed for everyday survival, i.e., ”functioning” in our hi-tech society.
I hope you can agree that ”having information” and ”knowing” is by no means the same mental condition. The first condition most often implies knowing that you have the information stored in an external medium and that it is promptly retrievable, which excludes the need to internalize (memorize) it.
It is said that ancient druids had enviable memories, being forced to preserve the collective knowledge of their people solely in their heads in order to keep their secrets. We do not need and do not want to memorize everything, while relying on external devices. As the dependency increases, we will have no choice but to become one with the external devices. Slight forgetfulness is the first symptom of not using your memory to the necessary extent, and online distractions certainly do not help to focus and memorize.
What is the future of education in this new ballgame? Are we headed towards differing only in terms of the possibility to access information rather than in terms of how much we know about a subject? What happens to the ability to analyze and synthesize information? Are our grandparents and their wisdom and memories losing the battle with our hyperfast and hyperefficient society where the world’s memory gets deposited and continuously updated on the servers of the global digital network? So, the grandparents are now redundant, or?
And by the way, did you happen to catch yourself again today answering a child’s question with ”I don’t know. Google it.”?
Vera Dragovic was nine years in public relations & communications in international environments, when she decided to get out of the limelight into the relative anonymity of program management. She has a degree in the English language which makes her writings understandable. Challenged by the current trends in digital communications, she has been tickled back into writing about and possibly working in communications again. Vera was born and raised in Belgrade and has for almost four years now been a resident of Dublin, Ireland.