Thursday, October 15, 2009

Text and Context

Through the ever perplexing debate of literacy's promotion of thought, one central issue remains mentioned and glossed over--without context, text ceases to exist. Thought, though it may be further expressed verbatim through text, cannot be said to appear in a more cognitive manner solely because of the production of text as a technology. Because, if one thinks of aurality and understanding as technologies, it could also be hypothesized that the ability to reflect at a higher level of cognition does not begin with the visual stimulation of the text, but in another area of the recesses of the mind. In this way, one may not be said to posses a greater objectionality, just because he is able to reflect upon the written word. Reflection is internal. Here, I agree with Mona's statement that, "writing does restructure thought." However, I respectfully disagree that one hears "every word, and every inflection." I can remember numerous times where I have been involved in an aural literacy-event and have missed many intonations, words, and even complete ideas. I believe that neither form of expression--aural/oral utterance and written--offers a greater importance. Each equally, effectively convey thought.

Addressing the idea that Ong proposes of literacy living in the "autonomous" mode, I offer once again that context dominates this arena, and squash the notion that it is independent of the surrounding elements. Because of this, the ideological model that Lankshear (and Ong, at times) proposes seems to operate more cohesively in the world of literacy. I completely agree with the notion of multiple literacies, because it is the social context of the literacy which is important. In this fashion, context operates on a broader spectrum; it moves out of the technological forum, and into the temporal. Context has everything to do with everything, because life--as a whole--is not an isolated occurrence.

And life, because it changes as we live it, dictates the inexorable fact of an ever changing set of contexts with which one views existence. Such is it that there cannot be a "neutrality" in literacy. Nothing exists in a state of neutrality. And nothingness, because of its complexity resides beyond human comprehension. It cannot be understood with an innumerable amount of spoken or written words.

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