Think More, Communicate Less

For as long as democracy has existed in the modern world, universal education and rapid mass communication have been highly regarded in democratic societies.  An educated people, democrats have assumed, is a people capable of informing and governing itself.  And a society in close and regular communication with its own citizens, and with foreign societies, will be tolerant of itself and of its neighbors, near or distant.  Thus, expectations for modern systems of mass communication have traditionally been high.  Progress in creating and perfecting a global communications system would  expand humanity’s self-knowledge and mental reach to nearly godlike proportions, while bringing all nations and peoples together in a spirit of amity and forbearance.  But as the achievement of universal education, where it has been accomplished, has resulted in universal semiliteracy and semi-ignorance, the realization of efficient global communication has created widespread mental confusion, induced national paralysis alternating with periods of hyperactivity and bellicosity, and aggravated international tensions.  Since the invention of the telegraph and the tabloid press in the 19th century, mass communication has made the world increasingly unintelligible, unmanageable, and ungovernable.

After the yellow press, the radio; after the radio, television; after the airwaves and the cables, the satellites. ...

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