In a recent Journal Entry, I mentioned that Changes Were Afoot. The change mentioned at the time was quite minor. It involved the mere change of one word. Wittgenstein on Learning became Wittgenstein on Literacy. That was all in preparation for another change, which is being announced today and which will take effect over the coming weeks.
Today, I can announce that the site will have a new name, but not necessarily a new direction. Please welcome The Literacy Bug (http://theliteracybug.com). The change acknowledges that the site has been moving toward a particular focus on literacy. The new name allows us to simultaneously break from an explicit link to the philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein, whilst also celebrating this link.
For the general visitor, the new name has a certain attraction. We want people to Catch the Literacy Bug. We want learners to be infected with the desire to gain meaning from print and to codify ideas in the written word. In the interests of free-flowing information, we want to celebrate the proliferation of oral, print and visual literacies.
For the nuanced visitor, the name alludes to Wittgenstein’s famous Beetle in the Box thought experiment. If you permit us to recap the experiment, it goes as follows … There are a certain number of people - perhaps around a table. Each one has a box before him or her. They are told that each one has a beetle in his/her box. The group is - then - asked, “do you know what is in each other’s box?” The group’s response is obvious, “of course, you just told us. We each have a beetle.” What is the point here? Well … because the group share a common language and certain common experiences, then they can understand what has been said without looking inside the “box”, which can metaphorically be taken as either “the mind” or “empirical verification”. Isn’t this the magic of language and - thereby - literacy? We can share ideas, mental pictures, concepts, etc. through the common language that we share.
Sure … we may need to interpret others’ minds to get the point. We may even need to share certain values, concepts and practices. And there will be certain texts that will elude the most literate person if the content lies too far outside one’s experience. And there will be cases where a text will richly provide its reader with new experiences and new ways of perceiving events that will leave an indelible impact on their world picture. Isn’t that magical?
Please welcome to The Literacy Bug. You can visit http://theliteracybug.com and you will be swept back to this site. The site's previous addresses will continue to work (wittgenstein-on-literacy.com and wittgenstein-on-learning.com), and the final version of the new logo is still under development. Enjoy and explore!