The Project So Far

Beyond Literacy began publishing about four weeks ago and the reactions have been encouraging. Some of the responses have been quite direct. I have been taken to task, quite rightly in many cases, for being too strident, serious, boring, shallow, text-centric, and poorly read. Most pointedly one person referred to the initial chapters as “bovine […]

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Examples of Post-Literacy

What could post-literacy be? Options include new technologies, unrealized innate human capabilities, and combinations or mutations of existing capacities. The post-literate equivalent of the alphabet (Alphabet 2.0) could emerge from a number of sources. The considerations that follow suggest a wide array of possibilities, some more plausible than others. Of course, these are the thoughts […]

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Characteristics of Post-Literacy

“If the ideal of communication is a meeting of souls, then writing is a sad shadow of the ideal.” James Gleick, The Information (2011) If we can agree that post-literacy is a positive development and not a decline into some sort of anti-intellectual wasteland, then we need to consider what would it be like. What […]

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The Effects of Literacy

Writing is sometimes called visible language. This usefully distinguishes it from spoken language. Since visible language and spoken language are fundamentally different, it is possible to assert that the end of literacy does not mean the end of language. While spoken languages are ubiquitous and diverse, only a relatively few of the nearly 7,000 languages […]

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Information Overload

We live in an ecosystem of hyper-information. In an extraordinarily short period of time we have moved from scarcity to ubiquity. The result has been unprecedented information access. It has also become not just overwhelming but debilitating. Too. Much. Information. Or, to be more accurate: Too. Little. Synthesis. The challenge of literacy isn’t our ability […]

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Achieving Literacy

The inherent difficulty of literacy explains the continuing struggle for global literacy. According to UNESCO in 2008 the world adult literacy rate is 84%. However, this masks significantly poorer levels in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa where the number of illiterate adults has actually increased since 1994. It also obscures the relatively low level of […]

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Literacy Under Siege

Literacy has been under siege for some time. The supposed agents of this threat have changed over the years but the perception remains constant. Television, movies, video games, mobile phones, and the Internet have all been identified as the culprits that rot the brain, desensitize, delude, and generally ruin the minds of the young (and […]

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Is Reading an Addiction?

A search for “reading addiction” turns up over 80,000 hits on Google. A scan suggests that the vast majority use this term ironically. They are boasting about their obsession with books and reading. This addiction is a badge of honour, a status symbol. What about real addiction? Much has been written about Internet addiction. According […]

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About Reading

I love books and reading. So why do I have this hate on for reading and writing? I don’t. For the most part. Reading and writing are good, they are just not good enough. First let’s revel in the joy of reading because it is profound. No book does this for me better than Alberto […]

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Reading and writing are doomed. Literacy as we know it is over. Welcome to the post-literate future. Beyond Literacy is a thought experiment about the demise of literacy and the rise of other capabilities, capacities or tools that will effectively and advantageously displace reading and writing. While the prospect of the end of literacy is […]

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