The ancient Romans built elaborate networks of pipes to deliver water where they wanted it to go. The networks were a marvel. But many of the pipes were made of lead, and the water carried the lead along with it.
One school of thought regards this as part of the reason for the decline and fall of Rome : lead poisoning gradually took its toll, impairing the thought and judgment of many Romans, especially at the top.
The theory is much disputed; perhaps it contains no truth.
But as a metaphor it is irresistible. We have built networks for the delivery of information – the internet, and especially social media.
These networks, too, are a marvel. But they also carry a kind of poison with them.
The mind fed from those sources learns to subsist happily on quick reactions, easy certainties, one-liners, and rage. It craves confirmation and resents contradiction. Attention spans collapse; imbecility propagates, then seems normal, then is celebrated. The capacity for rational discourse between people who disagree gradually rots.
I have a good deal more confidence in the lead-pipe theory of the internet, and its effect on our culture, than in the lead-pipe theory of the fall of Rome.
– Ward Farnsworth, from The Socratic Method
Yes, I know that's a long one (the extra line breaks are me, not in the original. I did that to aid reading). But I loved the metaphor and had to put it over here as food for thought.
While a lead-pipe will always carry lead, how we use the lead-pipe of social media is up to us.
"Do you have a favourite saying?" asked the boy.
"Yes" said the mole.
"What is it?"
"If at first you don't succeed, have some cake."
"I see, does it work?"
– Charlie Mackesy, from The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
I adore this book. It is a great book for kids, I think. It is definitely a great book for adults.
Experiencing is believing – A fat belly cannot believe that such a thing as hunger exists.
– Bruce Lee
Get into a plank. Now, get your right foot just outside your right palm. We call this a groiner. I always thought the sole purpose of this move was to help open up the back hip. Until I got injured and could not walk or move for a month. And then when I tried to do this, I realised I couldn't bring my right foot outside my right palm. Ahhh, so these are all the muscles we are using. It was a light-bulb moment for me and one that heavily impacted my (future) coaching as I realised what a student goes through when they start off.
Thanks for reading!