Should You be Concerned about the Rate of Literacy if Over 99% Are Illiterate?

When people were living in caves, probably most of them didn’t create cave paintings. Certainly none of them spoke English – and the alphabet hadn’t even been invented yet. The rate of literacy was without the shadow of a doubt 0%. But they managed to stay alive nonetheless.

Today, people often cite literacy rates of 99% – or even 100%. Yet what are they referring to? Does literacy include the ability to start a computer? To set up an email account? To send an SMS or to „program“ a coffee machine?

What about being able to write a complete sentence in English with no grammatical errors? Or how about understanding that the top 10 results on google.com are simply what Google wants you to see, nothing more and nothing less?

What about the realization that Google knows where you are right now (or at any moment)? That you know they are reading your email, even if you don’t use or have a gmail account yourself? (if + when you send an email to a gmail account) That they will give this information to other people without telling you about it?

What does literacy mean?

In my view of literacy, it means understanding that while .com means commercial, .co means Columbia. That .blog means WordPress, and that .app means Google.

According to this interpretation of literacy, far less than 1% of almost any population are literate… and I totally understand that this is a very high bar (or standard).

Likewise, I agree that it is expecting a lot for me to expect people to realize that when there are two kinds of content – „sponsored content“ and „unsponsored content“ – the content creators usually care much more about the „sponsored“ content.

I realize that the juxtaposition of „retard media“ vs. „rational media“ is controversial.

I understand that it might seem draining for someone in the top percentile with respect to literacy to hear that their level of literacy is actually hardly more than rather ordinary. When being in the top percentile is considered not good enough, then I can imagine that might feel rather demotivating. I constantly fear being seen as a vampire, sucking the energy out of some the most skilled people alive. Yet this is not simply a matter of flesh and blood human beings. It’s a technological issue.

Think of Larry Lessig’s notion that „code is law“. Think of your rights and responsibilities. Think of manifesting natural law in your words and actions. Think of your expressions, your meanings, your contributions to the unraveling evolution of nature itself. You are a part of this environment. You cannot excuse yourself, because there is no other place to go. Whatever you do will ultimately lead to the future outcome to which your contributions will contribute towards.

Then again, whether or not you try to oppose evolution, there is little doubt that it will inevitably take its course. You can hardly stop the forward march of time.

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