and now you, who are the father of letters, have been led by your affection to ascribe to them a power the opposite of that which they really possess. For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; […]

A few thousand years ago Plato predicted how Google would make us less able to remember things.

Hat tip: Chris Rudzki.

3 thoughts on “Plato, Phaedrus, Google

  1. […] and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise.”

  2. Now you start to realize why so many African tribes had prohibited writing for so long, as the word is merely part of a sign-system but is not the reality it refers to. That’s why Zulus, my original tribe from my father side, have 36 words to describe the color green, as they consider that there should be a word for every tone. There is not a general green, there is the green of the leaves, the green of paper, the green of apple, the green of vegetable – all different tones and therefore different realities. So that, realizing the amount of words necessary to define an infinite reality, they decided to proscribe the “word” and qualify it as the mother of all evil. Telepathy is far more viable: the soul can’t lie- by definition.

  3. Can’t really argue with that, although the internet in general seems to be at fault rather than just Google. There is little point in remembering so long as we have nearby internet access. Suffice it to say, it would be a scary world if the internet were to be inaccessible for long periods of time.