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I worked with scores of people in our library who’ve never used a computer. Some we’ll see once, some twice and some stay:)
Whilst explaining about the reach of technology to people, eventually one piece of information becomes a tipping point in their understanding. That is to say they start to believe.
When trying to comprehend the infinite the brain tends to recoil. No other; fear, disgust, anger, God: none force the brain into reverse quite like the infinite. If you want to control this repulsion, you must believe. Any wavering in your faith, even a tiny imbalance, and all control will be lost.
When trying to comprehend the number of zeros and ones involved in computing, some undergo a revelation. Others find the concepts of a Second Life or buying virtual money, to be tipping points. They begin to want to understand. Their fear of the unknown is replaced, not by understanding, by curiosity.
If we can help someone, get past that tipping point, into curiosity, we have succeeded. How do we define success? Our success is not to be needed, to do ourselves out of a job. The curious student will continue to study with or without attention. How else can success be defined? The problem has been solved, a solution is no longer required.


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