Shortly after beginning his university career in the USA (1980), Nadin was struck by a paradox: The most technologically advanced country in the world was peopled by cultural illiterates. This was also a time when traditional institutions—religion, sport, family life, education, to name some—were undergoing tremendous change. Nadin found the source of this upheaval not in any one piece of technology (television, was the main culprit at the time, later the computer), but in human nature at its best. Human beings are both pragmatic and heuristic. Instead of clinging to traditional values—such as a literacy that became “hardwired” into many aspects of life—he advocated studying the causes, not just the symptoms, in order to recognize opportunities for the future. His ideas led to many articles and finally to a book, The Civilization of Illiteracy.
Years after Nadin first started lecturing and writing about the new civilization (in which traditional literacy takes its place among many pragmatically necessary “literacies”), books and periodicals have been publishing the evidence that supports Nadin’s early thesis.
Posted in Post-Industrial/Post Literate Society