The Film Archives
Published on Jan 22, 2014
A postliterate society is a hypothetical society in which multimedia technology has advanced to the point where literacy, the ability to read or write, is no longer necessary or common. About the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/156…
The term appears as early as 1962 in Marshall McLuhan’s The Gutenberg Galaxy. Many science-fiction societies are postliterate, as in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Dan Simmons’ novel Ilium, and Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story.
A postliterate society is different from a pre-literate one, as the latter has not yet created writing and communicates orally (oral literature and oral history, aided by art, dance, and singing), and the former has replaced the written word with recorded sounds (CDs, audiobooks), broadcast spoken word and music (radio), pictures (JPEG) and moving images (television, film, MPG, streaming video, video games, virtual reality). A postliterate society might still include people who are aliterate, who know how to read and write but choose not to. Most if not all people would be media literate, multimedia literate, visually literate, and transliterate.
In his recent nonfiction book, The Empire of Illusion, Pulitzer prize–winner Chris Hedges charts the recent, sudden rise of postliterate culture within the world culture as a whole.
Author Bruce Powe, in his 1987 book The Solitary Outlaw, had this to say about a post-literate society:
Literacy: the ability to read and interpret the written word. What is post-literacy? It is the condition of semi-literacy, where most people can read and write to some extent, but where the literate sensibility no longer occupies a central position in culture, society, and politics. Post-literacy occurs when the ability to comprehend the written word decays. If post-literacy is now the ground of society questions arise: what happens to the reader, the writer, and the book in post-literary environment? What happens to thinking, resistance, and dissent when the ground becomes wordless?
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges wrote scathingly on the social dangers of “positive psychology”, both in his column for Truthdig and, more extensively, in his 2009 book Empire of Illusion. Hedges stated corporations appeal to “positive psychology” to force employees to be happy at all times. In a similar vein, Hedges is critical of “positive psychology’s” law of attraction. However, while popular in media and business, psychologists generally do not take seriously the notions of permanent happiness and law of attraction.
Barbara Ehrenreich extensively critiqued “positive psychology” in her book Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, in lectures, and interviews. Ehrenreich discussed how unrealistic, obsessive, or reckless positive thinking impedes productive action, causes delusional assessments of situations, and that people are then blamed for not visualizing hard enough, and thus “attracting” failure even in situations when “masses of lives were lost.” These criticisms are valid to psychologists. It is unclear to what extent Ehrenreich is critiquing the positive branch of psychology for errors of the popular positive thinking movement – especially the law of attraction, which is not taken seriously by professionals.
Held argued while positive psychology makes contributions to the field of psychology, it has faults. Her 2004 article offered insight into topics including the negative side effects of positive psychology, negativity within the positive psychology movement, and the current division in the field of psychology caused by differing opinions of psychologists on positive psychology. In addition, she noted the movement’s lack of consistency regarding the role of negativity. She also raised issues with the simplistic approach taken by some psychologists in the application of positive psychology. A ‘one size fits all’ approach is not arguably beneficial to the advancement of the field of positive psychology; she suggested a need for individual differences to be incorporated into its application.