Printing Press as Messiah and Source of Confusion

Folksonomies: information knowledge misinformation

The Printing Press is the Messiah

The printing press has come like a true Messiah to emancipate the great family of mankind from this double yoke. This Messiah is immortal, and its saving powers must be universal and perpetual. By this, and by no other Messiah, can man be saved from ignorance and misery; the only hell that he has to fear. It will prove the true Messiah of the Jew, of the Christian, of the Mahometan, and of the Pagan. It is a Messiah for all, and it will go on to unite under the name and title of Man and Citizen the whole human race, or all those animals who have the gift of speech, and its consequent, reason. I hope to see the day, or I fear not but it will arrive, when every man of property shall consider a printing-press, a necessary piece of furniture in his house; and prize it more than our present aristocrats prize their hounds and horses.


It serves all religions and one should exist in every home.

Folksonomies: science literacy revolution printing press


The Early Days of the Printing Press was Like the Early WWW

As was the case during the early days of the World Wide Web, however, the quality of the information was highly varied. While the printing press paid almost immediate dividends in the production of higher quality maps,10 the bestseller list soon came to be dominated by heretical religious texts and pseudoscientific ones.11 Errors could now be mass-produced, like in the so-called Wicked Bible, which committed the most unfortunate typo in history to the page: thou shalt commit adultery.12 Meanwhile, exposure to so many new ideas was producing mass confusion. The amount of information was increasing much more rapidly than our understanding of what to do with it, or our ability to differentiate the useful information from the mistruths.13 Paradoxically, the result of having so much more shared knowledge was increasing isolation along national and religious lines. The instinctual shortcut that we take when we have “too much information” is to engage with it selectively, picking out the parts we like and ignoring the remainder, making allies with those who have made the same choices and enemies of the rest.


The glut of books produced a situation of "too much information" similar to the one produced by the world wide web.

Folksonomies: information books mass media