We're all geniuses when a Google search is just a few keystrokes away, but what is this doing for our memory? In the good ol' days, we all learned, and memorized the same texts.
“We are in a culture that devalues our sense of memory.” Back when John Quincy Adams was teaching it, Mr. Engell said, “rhetoric was an umbrella where you got moral philosophy, the development of literary taste, intellectual prose, aesthetic appreciation, memorization and oral presentation. The ultimate object of this was what the Greeks called phronesis, or practical wisdom.”
Does miscellaneous and scattered information that needs to be collected, but not learned or memorized hinder or help culture and community? The author of the NYT article argues that we previously had an "illusion of community" because of our knowledge of shared texts.
Maybe the long tail is snapping us in the back of the head?!