This week, we welcome David Mikucki from Helvetic: A Podcast to help us talk about parental controls, Twitter's character growth, and how technology influences our view of elders.
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- Tank: Google’s parental control software – TechCrunch
- Ben: Twitter doubles the character limit from 140 to 280
- David: A Quote from Carl Trueman’s The Creedal Imperative –– The rapidly changing pace of technology makes older people more dependant on younger people (to explain things) than in the past. Does this affect how we view older people and history?
"Closely related to the role of science in cultivating an attitude that downgrades the importance of the past is that of technology. A simple example should make this point clear. My mother lives in an old weaver’s cottage in the Cotswolds. In what is now her living room, there is a stone fireplace and, in that fireplace, there are a series of small holes, roughly an inch in diameter, now plugged with wood, which indicate where the weaver would have had his loom. It is easy to imagine a scene in the early nineteenth century in which the weaver was hard at work making cloth when one of his children wandered into the room and inquired as to what exactly he was doing. No doubt, the weaver would have sat the child down and explained how the loom operated, how the shuttle carried the woolen thread from one side to the other and slowly but surely formed a sheet of fabric. The flow of knowledge from the older generation to the younger was clear; this was no doubt repeated many times in preindustrial societies around the world, where children typically grew up to follow in the footsteps of their parents and were thus more or less apprenticed to their parents from an early age.
"Now, jump forward nearly two hundred years to a scene in the same room. I am sitting there, trying to set up my mother’s DVR to record a Gloucester versus Leicester rugby match and, try as I might, I cannot get the machine to do what I want it to do. In walks my niece and asks what I am trying to do. After I explain to her what is going on, she sighs, rolls her eyes, picks up the remote control, and with what seems to me to be two touches of the buttons, has the machine set up to record the match. With a shake of her head, she walks back into the kitchen. Notice what has happened here, and what the significance of these two encounters is: the flow of knowledge has been reversed. No longer is the younger dependent upon the older; rather, the older is dependent upon the younger. Technology, because it is constantly and rapidly changing, inevitably favors those who have been brought up with it, and who have the kind of young, agile minds that develop new skills quickly and easily. You cannot easily teach a middle-aged historian, any more than an old dog, new tricks; and that means that technology will always favor the young.
"This is just one anecdote and, as my secretary will tell you, I am among the more—ahem—technologically challenged men of my generation; but the general point is a good one. The technological world, particularly given the rapidity with which it is constantly changing, creates an environment where the assumption is that older people are going to be dependent upon the younger. Taken by itself, perhaps, this might not be so significant; but combined with the impact of science as a whole upon cultural attitudes, it undoubtedly plays its role in the bias against age, and thus against the past, which is a hallmark of the modern world and which is not incidental in the general antipathy among Christians for creeds and confessions."
Thanks to David Mikucki for joining us this week!
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