You might be able to divide human progress between the pre and post PowerPoint era.
Before the creation of this most hideous of “advancements,” our ancestors came together and spoke, listened, argued, cried, and laughed.
First was around the warmth of a fire. Then, later, in places such as the western side of Athens near the hill of Colonus, where Plato set up his Academy; and the Roman Senate, boisterous and alive with passionate debate.
In the pre-Guttenberg era, hand written manuscripts of Lucretius and Aquinas broadened the mind.
Moveable type regionalized and later, globalized, the beauty of the Renaissance and the revolutionary thought of the Enlightenment. Human development surged.
Then came along PowerPoint…
At its best, a child’s picture show and Twitter-like 140 character snapshot of the presenter’s deepest insights.
At its much more common worst, a crutch for the intellectually lazy; a shelter for the weak minded.
Fortunately, there is a new hope to escape this morass.
It comes from Ashton Carter, the recently appointed U.S. Secretary of Defense, who has mandated that the military’s top leaders ditch the slides; and, instead, have a real human conversation about the issues of the day.
I don’t know how effective he will ultimately be as a leader. Yet, he is sure off to a great start.
Godspeed Ashton Carter!