To the editor:
As a college instructor, I must regrettably concur with Cal Thomas' editorial (Jan. 5), "The ongoing destruction of our minds," and the book from which he quotes, "Blue Collar Intellectuals," by Daniel J. Flynn.
Having taught in various areas of the country - Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina and Michigan - it has become all too clear that reading is no longer considered a good thing and knowledge is frowned upon. Instead, we have become the victims of the emphasis on the body, i.e. feelings, emotions, etc. with little attention to our minds.
But our mind is what makes us human, while the adaptation of technology to express ourselves dehumanizes us in a serious way. A contemporary philosopher of the 20th century argued already in the (1930s) that technology is a prosthesis, meaning we are no longer entirely human. We are losing our capacity to think in a deeper sense, and instead we have become satisfied with learning by rote without analysis and examination, and relying on virtual realities instead of dealing with reality as such. "Stupid has indeed become smart." The impact of science, i.e. technology, on education has become detrimental, something never intended.
Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done. However, as college instructors and school teachers we can at least make students aware of the dangerous road this country has embarked on, and emphasize that the danger is to each of them individually. But things will only change if each student personally appropriates learning and the gathering of knowledge, in other words, when each starts using his/her God-given mind and challenges that mind at every moment.
After all, the generation impacted by this evolving technology will become our leaders and citizens of the next generation, and that should make us shudder.
What has happened to all those wonderful books, scholarly and literary, that used to be the pride of any college? Must our university libraries really become theaters of sci-fi technology? Are seeing and listening our only important tools? The above-mentioned philosopher suggested that unless we attain vision and hearing, we are hollow. We do not hear what is important to us, because what has become important to us is merely to have what the other has in terms of smart toys. I ask, how far are we willing to go to diminish our humanity? How willing are we to lose that which makes us human?
ELSEBET JEGSTRUP, Ph.D.