Saturday, November 19, 2011

Knowledge Lost

In my post a couple days ago, I talked about my obsession with antiques.  It might be more appropriately stated as an addiction.  Some people go to the guy in the alley in the sketchy part of town to get their hit.  I just have to go to my antique dealer (her shop is quite refined and not sketchy at all).

In the world of antiques, there are many different things to be interested in.  Some people are into china, or quilts, or items from various eras (example: WWII).  As for me, I am all about the Victorian Period.  I love the fashion (God bless those corset wearing women), I love the furniture, I love the elegance of the period, but I also LOVE the books.  I can spend hours at my antique dealer's shop digging though a new cache of books.  Some are period stories, some are about medical knowledge or advice of the day (which can be quite comical when viewed through our advanced technological society lens), some can be books by authors we all know (Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, etc).

I have lots of lots of old books.  So many, I don't quite know where to put them all.  These book possess a lot of knowledge.  In this day of smart phones and Google, I have to wonder how much knowledge has been lost.  We have all kind of prescriptions that can cure this and that.  Are there herbs that can do the same?  People use to have to know what to keep in their gardens and what could be used to help what ailed you (mint for an upset stomach comes to mind).  I can't help but wonder, in gaining all the knowledge and know-how we have today, have we begun to loose some of the of wisdom?

One can tell by reading these old books that our language has certainly changed.  I don't think it's for the better.  How would you prefer to be greeted?  "Good day Mrs Smith, how are you today?" or "What up my nizzle?".  People's vocabulary is certainly lacking,

In a sad but true story, my husband, who is a high school teacher, overheard  a conversation a colleague was having with a student.  The fellow teacher had pulled an unruly student into the hall to have a little chat with her regarding her unexceptionable behavior.  He said "I need you to stop with these shenanigans".  The student then retorted "What did you call me?" and proceeded to get all upset.  This student was all offended because she had no clue what shenanigans were and thought it was a slight.  To this day, when ever my husband or myself use the word, we have an inside joke of "what did you call me?"

This high school child came off as very ignorant.  I would expect a high school junior to know what shenanigans are. It makes my heart heavy to think of the knowledge that is being lost.  Can everyone know everything? No, that is not my expectation.  I just worry about the fundamentals that are slipping through our fingers.

No one person can save the vast amount of knowledge the human race has amassed.  Will you join with me to learn what is new and what is old so we can pass this knowledge onto the next generation?  This way we will have knowledge gained, not lost.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who used to grade student essays for a living, I can say, language and grammar have definitely gone downhill... on skis. And while it was funny to read that one teenager had confused the words "buzzer" and "buzzard," as in, "the final buzzard went off," it was also scary!

    That said, I love old books. I love paper books, period! I see my favorite ones as good friends. :)