What is my checking account balance? Is there a bank around? Is there a movie theater in town? Is there a laundromat in town? Was Thomas Merton one of the Queen’s favorites? Wasn’t he in jail for a time? What for? Did my friends get home safely? Was Merton part of the College of Physicians, or The Royal Academy? Who wrote the book The Jewel Box? Did Ed and Richard get home ok?
No cell service or Internet leaves us with SO many unanswered questions. From this campsite, we have to drive half an hour to get a signal! RJ asked Margaret what did people do twenty-thirty years ago, when no one had mobile phones, plus all the answers in the world in their pockets? Margaret replied that we looked things up in books. If there were no books or librarians available, then everyone had an opinion and many great protracted arguments were had about things.
Tom and John have an agreement that they won’t whip out their smart phones during a discussion, to look up answers to the questions that come up, because this actually puts an end to the conversation. The art of debate, of making up a good story to back up your position on an issue—(even when not 100% sure of your facts)—these skills are being lost as we all pull The Google out of our pocket.
Not having an encyclopedia in one’s pocket is motivation to read deeply and widely, to try and retain the facts—to make connections between this event and that one. We used to invent and propose theories of sequence, history, and causality. Why let the facts get in the way of a good story?
OK. OK. So that’s all fine and good, but what IS my bank balance?