Saturday, January 6, 2024

The End of Functional Literacy

I often wonder if the replacement of reading with scrolling over the years is leading to the decline and devaluation of quality written communications.

Is the shift to communicating with and consuming bite-sized tidbits such as texts, IMs, and social media posts leading to a loss of the ability to textually articulate or comprehend meaningful concepts?

Not to mention, reading makes one a better writer and communicator, but it seems to be declining in popularity; exchanged for social media, videos, etc.

As a lifelong bibliophile, I'll never give up my reading habit. It's also led to me becoming quite the writer; both in my personal time, and for professional tasks.

My love for reading was also most likely behind my English Honors recommend from the Language Arts Chair when I returned to college in my early 30's (where I attended with Aaron Rodgers, who would go on to be a famous NFL quarterback).

In my personal time, in addition to writing in digital form as a cathartic activity, I still put pen to paper. I even have leather bound journals containing deckle edge paper where I still use nib fountain pens and write in cursive.

But, written communication seems to be no longer appreciated.

In the professional realm, it's now viewed with disdain when you request someone to articulate something textually. Likewise, if you provide a well written communication the response often demonstrates that it was not read or comprehended, or the reader doesn't feel comfortable articulating a response, and it moves on to the inevitable "can we schedule a quick meeting?"

This is quite the contrast from where early in my career I was often regularly thanked and commended for taking the time to explain complex concepts textually where management and/or coworkers could read it on their own schedule.

In the personal space, a response to a written communication generally consists of a reaction to something the reader cherry-picked while glancing through that they find as a point of contention or have taken offense to. Of course, the content of the rest of the communication is rarely, if ever, mentioned as if it was only scanned for something to feel slighted by.

The lack of functional literacy in our society is downright disheartening to me. The replacement of the well thought out written communications of "my time" with the "fit within the character limit" regurgitations or "quick meetings" is just an indicator of how lazy and preoccupied society has become. Sadly, with the exception of EMP induced post-apocalyptic scenarios, I don't see us returning to quality written communications.

The Scent of Old Books

In the quiet corners of a dusty domain, Where time's embrace weaves a nostalgic refrain. Among weathered shelves that silently stand, Lies a fragrance aged, like a tale in the sand.

The scent of old books, a journey unfurled, In the yellowed pages, secrets are twirled. A symphony lingers, a dance of the past, As memories awaken, forever to last.

Leather-bound whispers, a sweet, musty spell, In each worn volume, a story to tell. Time's fingerprint in the paper and ink, A vintage aroma that makes the heart sync.

The scent of adventure, like an ancient wine, In the passages penned, where worlds entwine. Library dust and the tales of yore, A fragrance that beckons, forevermore.

Crackling spines, a timeworn embrace, A fragrance of history, filling the space. Yellowed parchment, like autumn leaves' rust, The essence of stories, in the old books' must.

In the quiet alcove, where nostalgia dwells, The scent of old books, a magical spell. A journey through time, with each breath I take, In the aroma of knowledge, memories wake.

So let the fragrance linger, a literary boon, As the aroma of old books, like a nostalgic tune. In the library's embrace, where stories are kept, The smell of old books, in my soul, is kept.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Preparedness Book Share

This was a little FB Live done for the audience of friends and family:


Here are the relevant links I mentioned I'd share:

Civil Defense Manual - 

Clay Martin's books...

    Urban version (Concrete Jungle) -

    Rural version (Prairie Fire) -

Five Acres and Independence -

The Foxfire Books* -

* I incorrectly state that there are 10.  It appears that there are now 12 books in the numbered series.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Perception may be real, even when it isn't reality.

It doesn't matter how intelligent, insightful, or experienced one actually is; if someone subjectively perceives them in a particular manner, everything they communicate to them is going to be passed through that filter of (mis)perception and will be "heard" exactly how the receiver wants to hear it, regardless of if it was what the communicator truly conveyed or not. 

What's also thought-provoking is that the inverse is also true. Meaning, there are people who perceive incompetent individuals as brilliant and everything they say therefore sounds profound as it resonates with the ego-based component of the filter and arouses an optimistic assurance.

Friday, May 22, 2020

"Know thyself"

Some may have heard of the MBTI, or "Myers-Briggs Type Indicator". The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an introspective self-report questionnaire indicating differing psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. Me, I'm a MBTI INTJ+T type. 

Discovering the MBTI and determining my type has been a very insightful and introspective experience.  I've recently been exploring the "+T" (Turbulence) designator for my specific type which has been as insightful, or actually explanatory, as initially discovering my type.

For example, I recently read the following on INTJ+T:
Their turbulence may be related to their introversion as well as to the fact that many INTJs are “highly sensitive persons” (HSPs). While INTJs may not see themselves as emotionally sensitive, they are often sensitive in other ways. They may for instance, be easily overstimulated or overwhelmed by external stimuli, such as crowded or noisy environments. This may engender deep feelings of unease or anxiety, perhaps even culminating in a migraine or panic attack.
Check, check, check, and check.

But while this may seem like a weakness, the author offered the following:
Unfortunately, people too often overlook the positive side of INTJs’ sensitivity, namely, its contribution to their perspicacity and perceptiveness. If we think of a sensitive nervous system as one that is highly attuned to all sorts of stimuli, it should not surprise us that INTJs can pick up on nuances and subtleties that are lost on other types. This, of course, goes hand-in-hand with their intuition, which requires the accurate perception of raw data (and lots of it) to work its magic.
BTW, the definition of perspicacity is as follows:
Perspicacity is a penetrating discernment —a clarity of vision or intellect which provides a deep understanding and insight. It takes the concept of wisdom deeper in the sense that it denotes a keenness of sense and intelligence applied to insight.
 So since the INTJ is the overall rarest personality type, and the +T even rarer, perhaps in a sense it is an example of a higher evolution of the mind.  Or maybe not even an evolution per se, but rather a more true example of a mind attuned to survival in the natural environment we lived in for thousands of years prior to where we have landed now.

It's tough at times and sometimes the hyper vigilance is exhausting and I do get those negative manifestations mentioned, but at the same time in the right situations my INTJ+T traits really shine and I'd not trade them for anything.

I guess one could say that I have learned to see my INTJ+T traits as my super powers, but as comic book fans know; all super powers come with some sort of price.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Twitter, a hate machine

Twitter is a hateful place, and I almost wonder if it isn't by design.

I had been Twitter-free for some time but due to some software development "networking" I revisited it and started following key folks related to technologies I've been using. Many of the virtual events feature Twitter handles of the presenters or require Twitter to ask questions.

So I figure "if I only follow these folks it won't be so bad, right?" Wrong. It also reinforces how wise it has been on my part to decline employment with a certain software company four times if it is filled with such smug urbanites who feel their limited reality is the best reality and everyone else is just ignorant.

It's funny as each of their profiles will say something like "opinions are my own", etc., but then the accounts are featured on official company broadcasts.

It amazes me how consumed some of these people are with hatred and rage. But the thing is there is some algorithm that seems to keep this hatred bubbling up through trends. Not to mention, when you click a trend, it seems to deliver the most hateful tweets which amplifies the echo chamber of hate.

It's like Twitter is the real life equivalent of "two minutes of hate" except it's not two minutes, it's 24/7 and all around the globe, and I bet there are key people sitting back gloating over this social engineering tool they have enacted.

After composing this, I think it's time to get the heck off Twitter again.  I'm surprised I lasted nearly two weeks.