Quote IconThere’s a strong sense across the social sciences and humanities that we’re facing a crisis. A crisis because humankind is producing information at an unprecedented level. We are broadcasting ourselves in unprecedented ways. The circulation of information in a hyper-connected world is occurring at an unprecedented scale and frequency. Some people argue that that means we’re facing a crisis of the empirical. What value can there be for the humanities and social sciences in a world of prodigious, extraordinary, powerful corporate and state information machines. That’s one way of thinking about it—as a crisis and informational struggle that we’re completely impotent in the face of. I have a different feeling about it. It comes back to the training of a certain attentiveness, of slowing down the pace of thought, of asking different questions, and having a different kind of attention. It’s a tough enterprise. And the fact that it’s hard makes it important. We need the time to think carefully, to ask difficult questions, and to challenge our own assumptions about what we think is the case. To cultivate that patient openness to the problems that keep us awake at night and that we feel passionately about.
Les Back interview. Author of “The Art of Listening” (via peterspear)