Go Ask Alice

Have we short circuited kids’ life imagination
Through indiscriminate use of digitalization?
Show, don’t tell is the writers’ exhortation,
But there’s nothing left to tell with virtual visualization,
No roads less traveled to embark upon
With sense imprinted on graphic representation.
Go ask Alice, but be sure she’s print consulted.
Tweedledee and Tweedledum noise and light
Leave sense and senses senselessly assaulted.
With no books to read or nature’s seed,
Fantastic flight may be permanently stunted.
Peter Pan would have quite a bit to say
About techno kidnapping of kids’ creative play.

Chris Brockman
Illustration: Marjorie Torrey from 1950’s edition

This poem from Chris Brockman made me think:

Not long ago I read a comment by a silicon valley billionaire (can’t remember the name) who, on being challenged on his company’s focus on replacing language with icons said he is trying to make a more visual world.
Now I’m not a religious person but it brought to mind the opening lines in The Book of John, “In the begining was the word, and the word was with God. And the word was God.”
Loads of philosophical connotations there, but for now I invite people to consider that without language (the word) we are on the way back to equality with the animals.
I used the standard KJV bible translation, dig a bit and it gets more interesting. The Word in Zoroastrian, Syriac and Armenian texts is El or Ea, and to Ethiopian Christians (and Rastafarians) Jah, all of which mean “I am”
Once we get our heads round “I am” the rest of the words follow.
Digital technology is a fine tool, a means to an end, but when the tool becomes the end we are in dangerous territory.

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