Contemporary minds today are different from typographic minds of the Age of Exposition since people with typographic mind were accustomed to evaluate carefully the information they learned from print media. They could read and re-read the same piece of information over and over again. At the same time, contemporary people have minds are also different from the television mind of The Age of Show Business. People with television mind focused on the trendy issues which people could watch on TV. In such a way, the television mind is selective in regard to information learned from mass media. The contemporary mind is just overwhelmed with information and people are free to choose the information that interests them above all. However, unlike typographic minds, they do not have time to process the information carefully.
Today the virtual mind emerges along with the progress of the online, virtual world, which involves the rise of virtual communities and social networks. Today, internet has become the meta-medium of the contemporary society and the culture and mind-set of contemporary people are internet-driven.
The last 25 years of technological development have had a tremendous impact on ability of the contemporary society to think critically. In fact, people virtually forgot how to think critically. The nature of information has changed substantially. People receive information from each other, from diverse media, from reliable and unreliable sources that leads to the information overload and people just cannot think critically over the information they receive.
In addition, the relationship of people to information changed since people tend to view information rather as a commodity than a valuable issue. The contemporary technology, such as Twitter, Facebook, email, Blackboard, laptops, smart phones, etc., perform extremely important functions as new media. They allow people to communicate with each other regardless of their location. Moreover, they contribute to the emergence of virtual communities, where people are united by their mutual interests. Hence, new media open larger opportunities for open conversations which have little, if any, limits as users are not limited in time or location.
The intellectual tendencies emerging due to new media develop a new way of thinking, when people feel being a part of the larger world, where all people may be easily connected via internet and telecommunication systems. Hence the universal thinking emerges, while the contemporary culture is a globalized culture, where all people feel their unity but, at the same time, they often fail to develop close relationships in the real world. On the one hand, they can communicate effectively online, but, on the other hand, they may have troubles with their socialization and maintenance of positive relations with other people in the real world.
Cognitive biases and social effects of the contemporary culture are quite disturbing since people tend to poor socialization, while their desire to communicate with other people becomes a sort of game, where they attempt to receive as much feedback from other users of internet as possible, regardless of the content of the information they share with other users. In this regard, the idea of the form without content developed by Postman is still relevant.
Postman claims that TV is the culture’s principle mode of knowing about itself (Postman, 92) is not actually true because today new media emerged, while internet has become the mainstream media outpacing TV. The last 25 years of technological development changed the nature of the news and the audience understanding of it overwhelming the audience with information. The nature of religion and the public understanding of it changed under the impact of media and new technology since atheism became dominant. The nature of politics and the public understanding of it has changed too as the gap between policy makers and average citizens has disappeared due to new mass media. The nature of education and the public understanding of it changed as new technology are used in education to help students to learn how to learn autonomously, being independent of educators.
I, in person, can regain control of my mind in the contemporary media environment through critical analysis and evaluation of the information I learn from the outer world and comparing that evaluating that information on the ground of basic humanistic principles objectively. The critical thinking and objective analysis are keys to adequate perception of the surrounding world. To doubt is to be able to perceive the surrounding world critically and objectively.