History Repeats Itself

Found this quote from Martin Luther (here).

“The multitude of books is a great evil. There is no limit to this fever for writing; every one must be an author;
some out of vanity, to acquire celebrity and raise up a name, others for the sake of mere gain.”

Martin Luther, German Reformation leader, Table Talk, 1530s.

Made me think of what some have said of blogging. Andrew Keen could have used this quote by simply replacing “books” with blogs or the internet in his book The Cult of the Amateur.

Luther has been proven wrong in this instance … I suspect Keen will also. Ya think?

Learning is messy!

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6 thoughts on “History Repeats Itself

  1. I remember reading a similar set of quotes – someone complaining about the introduction of paper into schools, and asking what was wrong with using slates.. and another complaining that standards of writing would slip with the introduction of the ballpoint pen over the fountain pen.

    Whenever things take a step forward, there is always someone complaining that the old ways are best…

  2. The proliferation of information is certainly a challenge, even more so than when this quotation was first shared, but I don’t consider it an evil. I don’t consider the desire of many people to write as a bad thing either, to the contrary I think it is wonderful. Clearly people will use writing modalities to serve different purposes, and I think some of those purposes can be characterized as evil, but the modality itself is neutral in my view.

    I have tried to read Keen’s book and to date have just gotten through about a third of it. He is so mis-informed and includes so many inaccuracies that so far I have failed to see the value in reading his book, other than encouraging me in my own future desire to publish books. If Keen can get his book published which is full of so much mis-information and downright falsehoods, then surely anyone can. That is both encouraging and scary I suppose, but none-the-less reality in today’s info environment.

  3. Wes – You got about as far through the book as I did … for the same reason. I have made so many notes in the margins about false conclusions and assumptions it just became ludicrous to keep going. Now I feel bad I paid money for it.
    Maybe I can blame it on Will Richardson … he was the one proposing we all read it at NECC last summer! : )