Sitting with a friend over coffee, it could have been the coffee, or the friend, or maybe a reaction to the flu shot I got yesterday day.
Anyway, things suddenly became clear to me. An epiphany of sorts.
As a former printer’s assistant I have long respected the art and craft of Gutenberg. Before his revolution, knowledge was gained only under very difficult circumstances. The Dark Ages didn’t refer to the lack of sunlight. It was the lack of information. And the Renaissance wasn’t all about painting and sculpture. It was the “rebirth of knowledge”
The spread of knowledge was quick even for that century. The gatekeepers of knowledge lost their control to print shops and their owners.
Available knowledge doubled, tripled, quadrupled within a few short years, and that was in Latin. When books were written in the vernacular, there was a massive explosion.
Of course not everything was published. Publishing houses began to have a reputation. Works were submitted but there was a “vetting” process. The final work had to sell, and make a profit, printing was still an expensive affair, it didn’t take a monk’s life, but it was an arduous task.
This process of publisher “vetting” continued up to at least 1995. Books were so often rejected that it became part of the national experience. Stories were told of famous books that had been rejected dozens of times.
That is not true anymore, or at least it doesn’t have to be true.
Any thought, any idea, any story can instantly be public, nationally or internationally.
No “vetting”, no editing, no gatekeepers. At minimum, just a smart phone and a wifi connection. Knowledge is expanded at light speed. But is it true?
Are we just the result of our upbringing? Perhaps for thousands of years that might have been the major source. Are we also the combined result of family and what we have read? True again for another thousand years.
What happens when knowledge expands at light speed with no regard for truth and consequences.
I think that is what our current culture reflects, and I weep.
I like that phrase truth and consequences though!
So maybe we need to be held liable for passing on the lie or the untruth? Yes, we should have freedom of speech and expression, but maybe we should be held responsible for the validity of links and retweets.
It’s just my opinion, but it could change the landscape.