Conciousness? Consiousness?? Consciousness??? Consciousnes???? Conceisness?????
I know that other countries have GPS systems as well, and their own language Spell Check, but the title is more powerful this way. Need I say more than this? Of course I do – I like to complain.
I used to be an amazing speller in Hebrew, which is no miracle since it’s my mother’s tongue. Actually, hers was Polish and Yiddish, but then again, it sounds better. In any event … as an immigrant I was always so proud of my English spelling. There were few native speakers who spelled better than I did.
The other day, I spelled the word consciousness, and I spelled it incorrectly. You might feel forgiving about misspelling such a long word, but seriously, do you have any idea how often I use this work at work? It would be like a surgeon not knowing how to spell scalpel. (I actually don’t care if he/she cannot spell it as long as they know how to use it.)
Thankfully, spell check pointed my attention to it, so I immediately corrected it without anyone seeing me blush. Moreover, this is not the only word I once knew how to spell but now misspell. The list is growing. I’ve noticed that in the last 10-15 years my spelling skills have deteriorated. One could blame it on advanced age and diminished gray matter. I doubt it.
Spell check is making me dumb.
Even though it comes in handy, spellcheck is a memory-killer. It was a pain in the a– back when I used a dictionary to check my spelling. I had to go to another room; get the heavy dictionary out; sort through the pages and (hopefully) find the word. Then, I would use a mnemonic device to help me remember it again, so to avoid going through this tedious chore repeatedly. Spellcheck, on the other hand is everywhere. It’s great, it’s so useful and handy and my brain is atrophying all the while.
Dumbing Down Part II – The GPS
GPS is a whole other matter. GPS was invented by the gods specifically for me. There must have been a very special day when the gods stopped frolicking and tossing rose petals in the air – and said to one another, “Let’s do something nice for Rachel!”.
And why, you might ask yourself, were the gods being so considerate?
Perhaps being gods, they watched me during an officers’ training course on navigation; and later they heard my commanding officer mockingly telling our platoon, “Rachel will easily get us to Syria.” Even then, Syria was not a good place for your average Israeli to be marching! Trust me, a compliment it wasn’t! Fortunately, my ego wasn’t invested in being Columbus, even if I did eventually end up in America. In any event, I gleefully admitted that someone else should take the lead when it comes to navigation.
Or maybe the gods remembered when my GF and I decided to be adventurous and take our children to Orlando for a fun-filled adventure; and how, after renting a car, we almost ended in Cuba instead of Disney World? To add insult to injury, my 13 years old son, who’d never touched a steering wheel in his life, ended up being our navigator.
So the GPS is indeed godsend. In spite of my crippled sense of direction, it might surprise you to know that I knew how to read a map when I started driving here. Even if I wasn’t exactly Marco Polo, I honestly assure you – there was a time when I was a good map reader!
Of course, nowadays, nobody needs to read a map to ‘navigate’.
So what’s going to happen to that part of the brain previously devoted to spelling and navigation, the part that is probably atrophying? I’m not a neuroscientist, but maybe in a few hundred generations some new and currently unknown skill will develop in these now-deteriorating neurological regions.
And I didn’t even start with speed dial, which I love, and didn’t use it in my title because it would make it too long. But, if you take my cell phone away, I wouldn’t even know how to call my sons! And I’m not making it up – this had really happened!
One day I drove to Ventura to meet my son at a restaurant but, mid-way, I realized I didn’t know its address and my cell phone froze. No GPS. No natural navigation skills. No problem. Stop at phone booth and call to say I’m lost. WRONG! I don’t have his number memorized so I can’t call him. Luckily, I knew my husband’s phone number and he gave me the info. But unlike my naturally abominable navigation skills, I used to remember at least 30 numbers at all times, (some of my friends remembered hundreds of phone numbers) but there’s no need to anymore, so are those tiny cells dying as we speak?
Yes, these are trivial concerns when we think of world peace and an end to violence – but that’s the way I am, and that’s where my stream-of-consciousness took me.
I spelled it right this time … Consciousness?