Verbal and pictorial cultures are different than written cultures. The world looks differently when learned and told through verbal stories than when learned and told through writing. Literacy and Gutenberg changed us in ways that led to modernity. The re-emergence of visual communication—TV, pictures, movies, video-games—is changing us in ways we have yet to fully understand.
All these ways of knowing our world will likely be different than webby, hyper-linked digital cultures currently evolving because of computers.
The flexibility of digital media allows new ways of knowing, perhaps better mimicking how the brain best functions, perhaps opening new dimensions of intelligence.
Whether web-think is better than book-think remains an open question. The test will come from problem-solving. Will web-think help us solve problems dominating today’s world?
Linear, literary thinking gave us modernity—the scientific control of unpredictable nature and freedom from want—capitalism, law, democracy, and material success. Today’s challenges seem different, not resolved through command and control but perhaps by collaboration.
Webs are interconnected. Perhaps we can learn to think that way.