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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Why Is Academic Jargon So Undecipherable

From www.edge.org (I am obsessed, yes... spend several hours a day here):

JOHN BARGH: The discovery of the pervasiveness of situational priming influences for all of the higher mental processes in humans does say something fundamentally new about human nature (for example, how tightly tied and responsive is our functioning to our particular physical and social surroundings). It removes consciousness or free will as the bottleneck that exclusively generates choices and behavioral impulses, replacing it with the physical and social world itself as the source of these impulses.

The first time I read this passage it reminded me of graduate school, and how we used to sit around during seminars trying to impress one another with obscure phraseology. But to each his or her own madness, and I knew deep inside that this passage really had something to offer. And so I went about deciphering this little jewel. Here's what I think it says:

1-That technology is affecting human behavior at an alarming rate.

2-That even the most basic and simple of tasks and humans' capacity to make critical decisions and choices is being washed away by the maelstrom of information and choices the Internet brings into the every day human consciousness.

3-Choice-making is becoming a loss art.

I am not sure if I am correct, but I had fun trying to make sense of the passage. Please visit edge.org It's a nice place to see what the brightest minds today are middling with. I have to warn you, the site is almost Fundamentally inclined to evolution, and at times, they sound like the very Fundamental Gospel people they some times criticize. Nevertheless, I love reading what these people have to say and watching the interviews and learning. Please let me know if I completely missed the meaning of the the passage above.

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