The ICT revolution has unleashed individual and group deficiencies

Dear Editor,

The world is no longer flat.  It has shrunk to the point where it is now the thin silhouette of a plane, as in the very narrow line of a tight circle.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the rapid fire developments spurring technology advances. At the zenith of these soaring gains is the fallout discerned in the dumbing down and degradation of communications.

Here are all these wondrous breathtaking Information Communication Techno-logy revolutions; they represent vast open frontiers of learning, growing, and triumphing when capitalized upon wisely.  Yet I sense and am becoming increasingly familiar with the considerable individual and group deficiencies unleashed by these same incredible ICT revolutions. It is where interactions on the much travelled and crowded electronic highways have superseded other more traditional channels, while severely limiting participants, through backing them into a dismal kindergarten corner.  And from which they refuse to emerge.

To begin with, there is the one liner and not much more that has come to characterize Twitter, WhatsApp, and their other close cousins.  A world leader best exemplifies this form of communication, this standard, and this channel for matters that range from the meaningful to the mundane. The mundane can be excused or ignored, but the meaningful I daresay cannot (and should not) be reduced to the vapidity and puerility of ten word tweets.  This may not only be undignified and unbecoming of certain offices; it is also unwise in the extreme, if not uncouth on occasion.

Editor, I submit that nothing that is comprehensive, possessing of real depth, or inarguably profound can be subjected to the de minimis reductionism of a mere dozen words; a long paragraph or a page perhaps, but not a handful of cryptic words.  This might work for the world of empty-headed celebrities or not-so-bright sports figures or the entertainment industry; this might be acceptable for jocks and those not exposed to much in the learning department, but the same cannot be the norm for political leaders, for corporate communications, and for serious exchanges. It certainly should not be the glaring standard prevailing in the world of education.

More and more, education submissions whether oral or written are reminiscent of Instagram and Twitter through the short quick patters of rickety thought presented.  There is a jerkiness, an abruptness and, truth be told, a dumbness that brings flinching in what is tabled in conversation and documentation.  There is scantiness in expression, as though the advocates know English as a second language (and rather late in life), so there is not much that can be essayed for fear of tripping headlong over one’s feet.  Since such a great deal of time and interest is dedicated to the short staccato bursts embodied in Twitter and the rest, that same staccato standard has now transferred seamlessly to the larger realms of serious communication and thinking.  There is not much given with which to work; or worse yet, anything more than can be pried out and extracted.  The vocabulary and rhythm are just not there; the thought process is that heavily curtailed, given that reading is discarded as anathematic and hostile territory.

There is neither shame nor regret over the appearance and reality of mental limitations that in another time would be tantamount to a lack of manhood.  It is just the way things have evolved in the ICT revolutions, and are now firmly established as the accepted routines.

No books mean no reading; no reading signifies no substance; no substance represents no standing; and no standing is the equivalent of no existence.  It is why, (permit me a quick aside) that I find so inspiring the story in Kaieteur News on October 10th about the 30 blind students who will be completing their CXC examinations.  What an enlightening story in a world of sprawling self-inflicted darkness elsewhere.  That is the dark existence encompassed by Tweets initiated for the most part by twits.  Sophisticated societies can afford the luxury of gambolling in the shallow streams of ICT communications; this people of this society, particularly the young, do not have such a luxury, as it will catch up with them in the long run.  They will find that they cannot compete against the tsunami that is globalization and its sharp overpowering demands.  Only the very talented and very determined will manage to expand horizons and get ahead.  Meanwhile, the great unlearned majority will remain trapped and limited by their time and circumstances of their own making.  It is without present foundation; it could also be one lacking in a future.  The sad irony is that the tools and resources of their age is what degrade them to a state of near illiteracy.  It is a liked and enthusiastically embraced state.  The very best of all that is at their fingertips go begging for attention and interest. And so they wither….

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall


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