27 May 2010

How Great the Disconnect?

Loss of terminology can tell one much about a society.  All the college instructors I know complain about not being able to make historical or literary or even religious references that most students will get.  This applies to horseman's terms too, but a number of my compatriots are unaware of their lack in this regard. 

How far have most of us come from the days when even non-horsemen at least knew common horseman's terms?  A long way.  Lately, I've noticed an increase in the use of the odd phrase "reign in" where the author was looking for another way to say "restrain."

Today I opened my email titled "Edge 319: Emanuel Derman: Breaking the Cycle; Dawkins, Church, Taleb et al on Venter" and found this in the introduction to the Derman interview:

Watching that interrogation of the bankers at the Senate hearings, I had the feeling that this is the way karma works in the universe. Everybody is going to do something not quite right as they act out their destiny mechanically, doing what they unthinkingly believe they have to do. The Wall Street people are going to reflexively overshoot and be too greedy. The Senate people are going to reflexively grandstand and be too uninformed and try to reign them in. There isn't going to be an elegant solution to any of this.

Edge aka edge.org is one of the most intellectually sophisticated sites around, so this small gaffe surprised me. Gaps appear in everyone's knowledge, but this area is one that widens by the day.

During the last week of the semester, I said something about horses to a fellow instructor, who, in response, asked if horses were solitary animals or liked company.

Gee! Knowledge does not have a free rein these days. It's curbed and checked and almost hamstrung. Haw!!