A Wider World of Discourse

O’Donnell presents a cogent argument that all new frontiers (geographic, intellectual and technological) expose us to new dangers and new opportunities. However after the pioneers have passed on and the next generation adopts the frontier as home, the dangers dissipate as the technology evolves and we make an implicit bargain with society wherein we accept the new technology at a cost. His argument is enriched with a reflective historical perspective wherein he discusses the role of the printed word in aiding the survival and expansion of (what started out as) the cult of Christianity. He makes brilliant observations regarding the supposed wider world of discourse (as introduced by the written word, the printed word and the internet) and how this seemingly democratizing influence also creates polarization, extremism and exclusion. Thus, from a socio-political perspective, new technologies create new communities that dominate the discourse and others that are marginalized.

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