Decline of Reading

Decline of Reading
极难 1791


We have a crisis on our hands. You mean global warming? The world economy? No, the decline of reading.

People are just not doing it anymore, especially the young. Who's responsible? Actually, it's more like, What is responsible?

The Internet, of course,and everything that comes with it—Facebook, Twitter. You can write your own list. There's been a warning about the imminent death of literate civilization for a long time. In the 20th century, first it was the movies, then radio, then television that seemed to spell doom for the written world. None did. Reading survived; in fact it not only survived, it has flourished. The world is more literate than ever before—there are more and more readers, and more and more books. The fact that we often get our reading material online today is not something we should worry over.

The electronic and digital revolution of the last two decades has arguably shown the way forward for reading and for writing. Take the arrival of e-book readers as an example. Devices like Kindle make reading more convenient and are a lot more environmentally friendly than the traditional paper book. As technology makes new ways of writing possible,new ways of reading are possible. Interconnectivity allows for the possibility of a reading experience that was barely imaginable before. Where traditional books had to make do with photographs and illustrations,an e-book can provide readers with an unlimited number of links: to texts, pictures, and videos. In the future, the way people write novels, history,and philosophy will resemble nothing seen in the past.

On the other hand, there is the danger of trivialization. One Twitter group is offering its followers single-sentence-long "digests" of the great novels. War and Peace in a sentence? You must be joking. We should fear the fragmentation of reading. There is the danger that the high-speed connectivity of the Internet will reduce our attention span—that we will be incapable of reading anything of length or which requires deep concentration.

In such a fast-changing world, in which reality seems to be remade each day,we need the ability to focus and understand what is happening to us. This has always been the function of literature and we should be careful not to let it disappear. Our society needs to be able to imagine the possibility of someone utterly in tune with modern technology but able to make sense of a dynamic, confusing world.
  • 字数:437个
  • 易读度:极难
  • 来源: 2017-10-23