The History of Information

We shall stand or fall by television – of that I am sure.
E. B. White 1938

Television took only eight years to penetrate half of America’s homes. (Stephens, Mitchell, The Rise of the Image, The Fall of the Word, page 2)

by Abu Aasiya

Introduction

The Age in which we live has quite appropriately been referred to as the Information Age. We live in a time unimaginable just 100 short years ago; a time when we can communicate across the globe in real time via pulses of light; a time when we can send copies of documents to a distant office as we travel on the highway; a time of microwaves, fax machines, advanced medical imaging, cellular and digital phones, pagers, hand-held computers, the internet, and much much more.

Certainly, in many respects, we can look at these times with awe, bewilderment, and excitement. But do we ever stop to view our technological advancements in an historical context? Do we ever ask ourselves what effects these things have, not only on our lives in general, but even our very basic precepts; our concepts of time, information, and purpose? The answer is an emphatic NO. No, we do not.

In fact, because we live in such a fast-paced age, we often fail to realize that these questions even need asking. At one moment we see cachectic children starving in Iraq and within an instant we see a soap commercial. And then we see women in Bosnia crying about seeing their husbands killed or their daughters raped, which of course, is followed by an ad for the next episode of Home Improvement. Subconsciously, this fragments our worldview. We are unaware of what is cause and what is effect. We begin to ask questions of “how” and “what” rather than “why”. Ultimately we become ahistorical, rarely noting one event’s connection with another. Read more of this post

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