by Rev. Robert H. Tucker
November 24, 1997
The Wave of the Future
"I believe that this new technology is destined to revolutionize
our educational system, and that in a few years it will supplant
largely, if not entirely, the use of textbooks." True?
Remember the paperless office? The digital revolution spelled
the end to forest despoliation. Yet, copy machines now inundate
us with "Just in case, make extra copies for...."
Then there was the enticing promise of leisure time. A 35,
and even a 30, hour work week was within our reach. Tell that
to the dual-career family weary from its extra-hours' work day.
A flurry of flyers promise new programs to freshen and renew
church life. A friend's wisdom subdues the engendered hope: "All
planning degenerates into work." Always!
How can we know if such promises or predictions are true?
How could we have known if the music critic who dismissed Beethoven's
importance for the future of music was correct or not when he
wrote: "Beethoven always sounds to me like the upsetting
of a bag of nails, with here and there an also dropped hammer?"
Or, what about the predictions of the latest religious prophet?
Moses has a clear answer for us. In some final advice to the
ancient Israelites, he says, "You may be asking yourselves,
'How can we tell if a prophet's message really comes from the
Lord?'" The answer, Moses says, is simple: if it happens,
then it comes from God. If not, it doesn't (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).
Eminently reasonable advice for us when listening to those with
less authority than God.
It appears we're on our own to judge and act accordingly.
The above promise about the end of textbooks was made not with
contemporary DVD (Digital Video Disks) in mind but in 1922 by
Thomas Edison and his belief in the effect his inventions would
have. Three quarters of a century later, students and books are
--Robert H. Tucker
24 November 1997
- © Robert H. Tucker, 1997.
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