Wednesday, December 26, 2012

“A little out of date”

Diana Senechal:

There is nothing quite so dangerous as trying to be always up to date, for one simple reason: just moments after one becomes current, one falls behind. To keep from falling behind, one must stay alert to every update. To step back, to spend time on something not immediately relevant, is to risk “missing out,” losing touch with the lickety-split relay of the latest, or so it seems. . . .

The pressure to keep up with the times not only distracts and dizzies us; it upsets and distorts our values. Once we subscribe to the “cutting edge,” we lose the ability to judge it. We grab it, grab some opinions about it, and grab some more. What others are saying about the latest gadget or fashionable concept becomes more important than what we ourselves think. We are told that if we just get it now, or embrace it now, we will be at an advantage. Thus to think in any sort of depth, to judge things on our own, we must risk falling a little out of date, a little out of authority.

Republic of Noise: The Loss of Solitude in Schools and Culture (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2012).

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