Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lankshear and Ong Response

I can see where the individual authors are coming from in most aspects on the topic of literacy. However I cannot find myself agreeing with any one aspect of either Lankshear or Ong.

I believe that literacy is indeed a technology, and yet I believe it is also connected more deeply than is suggested by the label "technology". The suggestion that literacy is a dead thing does not wholly convince me. I've read many stories that do come alive years after the author has died. However the meaning or life I give it is unique and thus literacy is brought to life by me reading. It is not important to me whether the author's original meaning is brought across by my interpretation. This is not to say that I would not try to understand the author, but tell me how often anyone has completely agreed with someone or accepted every feeling of another person in life!

This is no different than the oral traditions in my opinion. There is no real way to know that the story has changed when we look at an oral tradition. Generation after generation would have slightly modified the story and eventually the meaning may shift just as much as a written text and of course the hearer is now subject to the storyteller's interpretation of the original. It's on this point I think writing is a superior tool for conveying thought.

However, I do not believe that the lack of literacy in a society is a hindrance to productivity and advancements, at least to a point. The modern age does seem to dictate that there be a level of functional literacy that each person must possess, but I believe this is only because we have had the tool of writing for so long that it has been weaved into the very fabric of society. Certainly societies have flourished in the past with a lack of literacy, it is impossible to say whether or not humankind could make it to where we are today in terms of technology without it.

In conclusion, I'd like to mention that I have no firm opinion on these subjects, I'd like to believe I have an ability to see things from both sides, and each has it's merits. I find being on the fence allows me to be a bit more objective than falling into the arguments going on. Perhaps these fine fellows we have been reading should be a little more open minded :)

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