Cultural Amnesia: America's Future and the Crisis of Memory
Sixty percent of adult Americans don't know the name of the president who ordered the dropping of the first atomic bomb, 42% of college seniors can't place the Civil War in the right half-century, and 24% think Columbus discovered America in the 1500s. Meanwhile, more American teenagers can name the Three Stooges than the three branches of the federal government.
Applying the metaphor of Alzheimer's disease to our national state of mind, Bertman offers a chilling prognosis for our country's future unless radical steps for recovery are taken. He offers psychological insights into the nature of memory with perspectives on the meaning and future of democracy. With compelling evidence, the book demonstrates that cultural amnesia, like Alzheimer's disease, is an insidiously progressive and debilitating illness that is eating away at America's soul. Rather than superficially blaming memory loss on a failed educational system, Bertman looks beyond the classroom to the larger social forces that conspire to alienate Americans from their past: a materialistic creed that celebrates transience and disposability, and an electronic faith that worships the present to the exclusion of all other dimensions of time.
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came to writing , Thoth said : “ This will make the Egyptians wiser and give them
better memories : for I have found the elixir of memory and wisdom . ” Thamus
replied : “ O most ingenious Thoth , he who has the gift of invention is not always
As America's TV - watching kids move on to high school and even college ,
publishers dumb down their books — simplifying sentences , eliminating “ difficult
” words , and adding colorful pictures to give students the illusion of success and
72 While the computer gives the impression that it is a portal to all human
knowledge , it is a door only to that ... Computers can give us information ,
including access to documents and artifacts from the past.74 What they cannot
give us is a ...
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Prologue The Land of the Lotuseaters
Memory and Personal Identity
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