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Old 09-21-2010, 08:15 PM   #31
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While I didn't learn this from a book, I have learned there is Country and Western Disco music.

I shudder at the thought though.
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:38 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by beppe View Post
Thank you Ea. Your praise is much appreciated. It spurs me to add a consideration on the instructional value of reading fiction.

It has been pointed out by sociologists and philosophers that many forms of unexpected violence by youths are associated to a cultural vacuum. I am not referring to those socially under privileged. The Italian philosopher Umberto Galimberti mentions "emotional illiteracy" as one of the causes. This is explicitly related to the lack of exposition to fiction in the early years of education. Where else can one young person learn about sentiments and emotions, their value and importance. Certainly not from play stations, or from SMS exchanges.

I am familiar with the discussions on this point and similar in Italy but I know nothing of this in other countries, if it is debated, anything.

It would be nice to have some comments.
When I first read this post, I thought at first this was a "youth these days" opinion, but now on re-reading I wonder if it is? I'm not certain.

If it was, this would be my reply:

I don't believe children today read less fiction in general. Compared to, say, my parents' or grandparents' generations, more children are literate and have better access to books. I don't know if they read less in school either.

Also, I think the statement is questionable: "Where else can one young person learn about sentiments and emotions, their value and importance. Certainly not from play stations, or from SMS exchanges."
Computer games of the multi-player variety actually strengthens social skill noticeably. Social interaction in general, and that includes SMS messaging, but also online (look at us, here!) strengthen social skills and makes it easier for people to (learn to) connect.

In comparison, reading is a solitary pursuit. I know I could personally have benefited a good deal from less reading and more social interaction in my youth. I used it as escape, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that.

As for "unexpected violence", I'm not convinced that that is a recent phenomenon. It is more visible today because we talk a lot more about it, but statistics does not (as far as I remember) support it.

Cultural vacuum? Perhaps yes, but reading is not the only thing that carries culture and may for many people not be the best medium. Also, it could be argued that that view of culture is elitist?
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Old 09-23-2010, 06:28 PM   #33
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Thank you Ea for picking my note and for picking on it.

No, I am not in the team "youth these days". On the contrary, I do love them, (being the only one we have BTW). To day I made exams (oral) ad the last two were a joy for my heart. Bright, eager to meet challenges, full of life. Everything on quite different keys and ways than when I was of their age, but exactly for that, so lovable and interesting. Made my day, and thanks to those two kids I will start the new semester much more motivated.

Yes, mine is an elitist point of view. I certainly do not feel one with the 15% return illiteracy that is now plaguing several countries in Europe as recently debated on Swiss TV, the only with enough guts to bring this out in the open.

Yes, it is going on since I remember (Clockwork Orange,1971, great film by Kubrick based on a great novel by Burgess). Although, before posting this reply to your replay, I Googled "emotional illiteracy" and found a multitude of activities, and confirmations of all of your points (compliments), and of mine also, although in a minor way.

It is a very complex and debatable problem, where different points of view find their place legitimately.

Yes, communication is the base issue. It is undoubtedly more fundamental and useful than reading Anna Karenina and Crime and Punishment.

Over all I think that my original post could have been better formulated. A lesson for next time. Thank you.
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:41 AM   #34
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I wonder if you could explain the term "return illiteracy"? I'm not sure I can find out what you are talking about?

With regards to illiteracy, one thing that comes to my mind, is how to compare statistics with earlier times? For one thing we are now much more aware of functional illiteracy (which was, as far as I know, not taken into account earlier), and secondly, the modern society appear to require an overall higher degree of literacy. Since now more people than ever get further education (I can only speak for Scandinavia) this probably leave a smaller group more marginalised and alienated than ever before.
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Old 09-24-2010, 03:42 AM   #35
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What did I learn from fiction? Umm!!

That there are two sides to history, but the victor generally gets to write the official version.

That a lot of fictional people are based on real people, who went unrewarded during their lifetimes.

That there are a great many talented authors out there.

Yep! That's about it.

Cheers.
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:15 AM   #36
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I have seen a return to illiteracy over the past 5-10 years. If that is what is meant by 'return illiteracy'.
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:29 AM   #37
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I wonder if you could explain the term "return illiteracy"? I'm not sure I can find out what you are talking about?
I got the definitions from the official Italian Agency. Google did the translation

alphabets (alphabetical individuals at risk);

illiterate / illiteracy - in fact - (those who do not possess any qualification and can neither read nor write);

illiterate / illetteratismo (condition of an individual that despite having a minimum repertoire of reading and writing, is unable to use written language to receive or deliver messages);

(return) illiteracy (those who are exposed to risk vertical alphabetical involving regression of degree lower when it was not exercised properly for five years);

semi-literate (holders of one elementary school in our society means not having the slightest possibility of social inclusion, cultural).

Functionally illiterate (those who can not use basic skills to express their right of citizenship.

is this useful?
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:46 AM   #38
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With regards to illiteracy, one thing that comes to my mind, is how to compare statistics with earlier times? For one thing we are now much more aware of functional illiteracy (which was, as far as I know, not taken into account earlier), and secondly, the modern society appear to require an overall higher degree of literacy. Since now more people than ever get further education (I can only speak for Scandinavia) this probably leave a smaller group more marginalised and alienated than ever before.

There is much work done on these points by a number of National and Internationals Agencies. I will be happy to provide you with links if you are interested. Privately.

A general tendency is the scissor effect between privileged and unprivileged sections of any modern population, on any parameter. It appears to be unavoidable. To my knowledge any tentative of correcting it has demonstrated itself not only ineffective but often an aggravating factor, on longer times, on the scissor, not necessarily on the absolute values.

There are countries and societies where moving up on the social stair is facilitated, other where this is more arduous. But this applies to individuals, not to sections of the population.

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Old 09-24-2010, 07:23 AM   #39
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...

is this useful?
It helped a good deal - except I think I'm losing the thread in this particular discussion In any case, I don't think we disagree on this issue in general, perhaps even not in particulars.

It started with the idea that reading fiction (and of a certain quality, I would say - by this I don't necessarily mean literary literature) would provide children with an emotional education. I think I generally agree with this statement, but I do question how applicable it is on societal problems, such as youth violence.

I just noticed I missed this particular sentence in your original post: "I am not referring to those socially under privileged." Sorry, my bad - it would have changed my reply.

Then one could ask; is there more violence among "non-un-privileged"* youth today than earlier?


* It's not exactly the same as priviledged
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Old 09-24-2010, 10:55 AM   #40
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It helped a good deal - except I think I'm losing the thread in this particular discussion In any case, I don't think we disagree on this issue in general, perhaps even not in particulars.

It started with the idea that reading fiction (and of a certain quality, I would say - by this I don't necessarily mean literary literature) would provide children with an emotional education. I think I generally agree with this statement, but I do question how applicable it is on societal problems, such as youth violence.

I just noticed I missed this particular sentence in your original post: "I am not referring to those socially under privileged." Sorry, my bad - it would have changed my reply.

Then one could ask; is there more violence among "non-un-privileged" youth today than earlier?


* It's not exactly the same as priviledged
It happens easily with very complex issues and a sneaky poker player like the under signed.

But back on the thread,
yes, reading fiction (and of a certain quality, I would say - by this I don't necessarily mean literary literature) provides children with an emotional education. According to Galimberti, and to other sources it *is* pertinent to those "unexpected" youth violences. It provides a mean to metabolize and integrate fundamental pulsions, that are exalted by certain ludic activities, and by modern ways. For instance, use of internet has reduced the capability of intense concentration for more than few minutes, in exchange of an increased capability of grasping the essential, but only in rarefied and coded contexts (SMS, or exactly, word by word, what they have underlined in their photocopies of photocopies of course notes, pre-underlined by some friends of them). And so on ...

Yes, there is more violence among "non-un-privileged" youth today than earlier. It has been noted, signaled and discussed. Again reference to Galimberti and his friends in Europe.

What else? Ah, I am not surprised, more than being pleased, that you don't think we disagree on this issue in general, perhaps even not in particulars.
Now, watch out, I hope that what follows will not embarrass you as it is a compliment. Not on your charm, or your recipes or your aquariums, as my compliments to you are, usually.
Since I am on MR, I am following your posts with admiration for their depth, equilibrium, consideration, style, competence, helpfulness, humor of the Viking sort and most of all truthfulness. It means that day by day, little bit by little bit, I am learning*.
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* This is the lodge, right? Anything can happen.
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Old 09-24-2010, 11:32 AM   #41
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Since now more people than ever get further education (I can only speak for Scandinavia)
Scandinavia was and still is the shining example referred to by everyone in the rest of Europe when the need of reforming the educational system is being discussed (again).

@Beppe: well said
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Old 09-24-2010, 02:56 PM   #42
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...

Yes, there is more violence among "non-un-privileged" youth today than earlier. It has been noted, signaled and discussed. Again reference to Galimberti and his friends in Europe.
What I forgot to add, with increased affluence in Europa the numbers of "non-un-privileged" people has increased a great deal as well. How do they take that into account?

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What else? Ah, I am not surprised, more than being pleased, that you don't think we disagree on this issue in general, perhaps even not in particulars.
Now, watch out, I hope that what follows will not embarrass you as it is a compliment. Not on your charm, or your recipes or your aquariums, as my compliments to you are, usually.
Since I am on MR, I am following your posts with admiration for their depth, equilibrium, consideration, style, competence, helpfulness, humor of the Viking sort and most of all truthfulness. It means that day by day, little bit by little bit, I am learning*.
That is very nice of you to say
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Old 09-24-2010, 03:08 PM   #43
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Scandinavia was and still is the shining example referred to by everyone in the rest of Europe when the need of reforming the educational system is being discussed (again).
You wouldn't think so if you heard how it's discussed here...
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Old 09-24-2010, 04:59 PM   #44
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I don't know if a story I read in one of Harlan Ellison's 'Dangerous Visions' taught me anything... but it certainly startled me. It was called "The Barn"
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:26 PM   #45
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I don't know if a story I read in one of Harlan Ellison's 'Dangerous Visions' taught me anything... but it certainly startled me. It was called "The Barn"
A Piers Anthony story, I believe, and I suspect both Piers and Harlan would be pleased to have provoked that response. The books were trying to deliberately explore taboo topics that hadn't been touched in SF, largely because of "adult" content.
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