The topic that I plan to explore in this essay involves looking at the past and present in order to have a better understanding of the future. There are essentially three parts to my research. First, I want to explore what happens to the brain biologically when it must learn something new. In order to do this, I will turn to research that studies language acquisition in infants, second language acquisition and what happens to the brain when it becomes literate (literacy for the purposes of this paper defined as reading and writing). I believe that studying the functions of the brain when it is introduced to these phenomena should give a better understanding about the effects of language and literacy on a person's thoughts and perceptions of the world.
[...] We have done a brief and definitely not exhaustive survey of early Greek culture in regards to its oral traditions and the entrance of literacy and its beginning stages of “secondary orality.” It is clear that although this was not a strict movement from one stage to another, the emergence of literacy in a completely oral world had to have a great impact. In fact, the question almost inevitably rises: what would it have been like to be a Greek first exposed to literacy? [...]
[...] The very essence of electronic transmissions is to surmount impedances and to hasten transitions (Birkerts 121) Although there are many similarities to the early Greek situation, this new shift has seemed to have more of a blanketing effect. It is common to hear people express this in everyday life. Some complain of technologies such as cell phones, computers, and even televisions as “necessary evils” which they cannot imagine living successfully without. They give little thought to the fact that there are many people in America who cannot afford these technologies, or the fact that there are nations in the world which are not inundated with them or some which do not have them at all, and are still functioning. [...]
[...] That transfer made possible or perhaps even generated to some extent, new ways of thinking which marked a shift from mythical paradigms and the beginnings of a break from mythical disclosures (88). For the primarily oral Greeks he explains, the singer or poet became less important with the advent of writing, and there was now more of a focus on an inner self consciousness than the extraneous one. Without the singers, there was also less of a connection to the oral history of the myths, rather now there is now a depiction of them. [...]
[...] First, as was discussed in the section concerning how the brain learns, the brain is capable of and has demonstrated the ability to adjust and perform functions which its structures were not designed for (Wolfe and Nevills 259). The brain is flexible and truly capable of organizing, shifting and changing when necessary, however necessary. Next, In Proust and the Squid, MaryAnne Wolf quotes Ray Kurzweil, who makes the claims that by the 2020's, we will have enough data-gathering and computational skills to model and simulate our entire brains and begin to combine the principles of the operation of human intelligence with the intelligent information processing. [...]
[...] Oral speech is made up of the hearing of sounds which allows it to be “temporal and memorial.” Without a medium such as writing, everything, including the culture's history and ancient narratives had to be spoken. Because of this, memory is the only resource available for preservation of a myth, poem, or any other type of discourse Oral poetry and the telling of myths was a major part of Greek culture. Myths were not falsehoods as the term is sometimes defined, but they were narratives that contained truths and values to be learned and applied to everyday life. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee