It seems appropriate that I start this blog with a subject of sufficiently high order. Cultural 'fragmentation' and the 'revolution' that we are experiencing as a result of new technologies. As I had hoped when I was thinking about starting this blog, I have found good material, quickly. Ironically I am using Doris Lessing's recent acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Literature, to do the very thing she complains about in her speech, blogging! Without quoting large parts of her speech, it is fair to say that she has on the one hand drawn attention to a real problem which is that perhaps some people do spend a little too long in front of screens but on the other hand it is very wrong to assume that those who have an interest in emerging technology or indeed make good use of improved access to information or communication tools are wasting their time.
From reading her acceptance speech, I would not say that DL has a narrow understanding of what knowledge is but I would say that she has little understanding of the power of technology to create learning communities or new understanding through online conversation. Lessing has a real and serious concern: that people do not read enough that their thinking lacks depth and of course that potential authors may not write books.
While I struggle for the words to make my own points useful I envy the writing skills of Lessing and other brilliant authors. Still I hope my writing improves and I am by the way, by blogging, trying to answer one of Lessing's questions : "Have you found a space, that empty space, which should surround you when you write?" I once worked in Kenya for a few months and was lucky to experience real quiet and wilderness in the deserts and jungles there. Here in Dundee there are very different types of desert and jungle and it it is very difficult to find a similar sense of space. Increasingly, I do not have time to visit the mountains, which are close bye, and give more and more time to work and domestic tasks.......... but I hope to find some parcels of time for this space.