Reading And Thought By Dwight Mac Donald

988 words - 4 pages

In the article “Reading and Thought” the author Dwight MacDonald provides criticism and disagreement with Henry Luce’s idea of “functional curiosity”. Luce developed the term “functional curiosity” defining it as an eagerness of people to know the latest news happening around the world. On the other hand, MacDonald concludes that functional curiosity only strengthens reader’s practice in reading rather than in providing invaluable information. He underlines that literature nowadays is deficient and insubstantial since there is no deep meaning in the texts. Modern printed literature is simply being skimmed through by the reader as the reader nowadays tends to avoid too much information ...view middle of the document...

He also points out that nowadays high school and college students have decreased capacity of serious thinking because of multitasking and distraction. Moreover, Tyler Cowen, economist and famous blogger, claims that nowadays information tends to come in shorter and smaller portions and that explains why our generation encourages short reading. Since online information is always presented in short written passages, the web prevents users from concentration and contemplation. As an illustration, Nicholas Carr, the speaker at MIT and Harvard, discovers a phenomenon that everyone is losing the ability to read and to absorb long articles. Carr claims the more the people use the web, the harder it is for them to remain focused on long pieces of writing. (Carr 341) People nowadays tend to avoid too much information and to pay too little time for serious thinking. If this trend continues further, we’ll become less educated as far as we are not reading and thinking as much as we should.
Moreover, literary reading is a great necessity for modern society. Literary reading strongly enhances and enlarges citizens’ thinking by helping them to imagine and to understand different lives which can also have a personal affect on them. For example, reading literature like the Dialogues of Plato may develop a stronger sense of national identity in citizens. According to a 2002 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, Americans, especially young adults, show a dramatic decline in reading literature, despite all the benefits of literary reading. (Giola 355) Daniel Pink, the author of Wired magazine, claims that nowadays younger generation has lost “the ability to create artistic and emotional beauty, to detect patterns and opportunities, to craft a satisfying narrative” simply because they don’t read enough literature. According to a survey in 2000 by the Roper Organization, 81% of the college seniors from the top 55 colleges failed to earn higher than grade C on a high school level history test. (Giola 355) With declining...

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