Sunday, April 05, 2009

Quote of the Day: "That we may be gazing at a screen ..."

While the truly extraordinary phenomenon that is everywhere before us is never even mentioned: the vertiginous and unprecedented concentration of power that has gathered and is gathering in the pure act of reading. That we may be gazing at a screen rather than a page, that the numbers, formulas, and words appear on liquid crystal rather than paper, changes nothing at all: it is still reading. The theatre of the mind seems to have expanded to include rank upon teeming rank of patient signs, all incorporated in this prosthesis which is the computer. Meanwhile, with superstitious confidence, all the sorcery and power at ploay are attributed to what appears on the screen, not to the mind that elaborates it -- and above all reads. Yet what could be more technologically advanced than a transformation that takes place in a totally invisible way, within the mind? The development is dense with hidden consequences. By uniting with the screen the mind, trained or untrained, creates a new kind of Centaur, grows used to seeing itself as an unlimited theatre.

Roberto Calasso (2001). Literature and the Gods. Translated by Tim Parks. Knopf, 2001. pp.22-23

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