Lyn Lesch’s “Intelligence in the Digital Age”

There is a strong personal touch defining Lyn Lesch’s Intelligence in the Digital Age: How the Search for Something Larger May Be Imperiled quite unlike anything else I have encountered in similar works. Some may balk at the airy conceits contained within the pages of this book, but it is clear Lesch has considered the ideas promoted by Intelligence in the Digital Age with great care. There is nothing breezy about his treatment. It is reflective of the serious forward-thinking point of view once leading Lesch to establish and direct the famed Children’s School where Lesch’s curriculum served young people ages six through fourteen. His educational ideas zeroed in more on the interior life of young learners rather than typical ends common to traditional scholastic models. 


His groundbreaking continues with this text. Lesch does an exceptional job of marrying hard quantifiable data proving the digital age has produced significant cognitive negatives for the population at large, despite making communication superficially easier, with further study suggesting it has likewise refashioned the very nature of our consciousness for ill rather than a greater good. He doesn’t just reference hard data, however, but also utilizes a number of quotes from both literary and philosophical sources to help further underline his points. True believers in the Internet’s power to bridge previously unworkable societal divides may take issue with his sometimes dour view of the digital world’s utility for users, but it isn’t without cause. Lesch presents readers with plenty of evidence supporting his point of view. 

The book’s construction illustrates the solidity of his thought process well. The value of Intelligence in the Digital Age reveals itself to readers in systematic rather than slapdash fashion and his unified approach reinforces the strength of its arguments. Readers will finish the text convinced Lesch has touched on all the relevant issues connected with the topic, glossing over nothing, and I suggest a first reading go from beginning to end rather than dipping piecemeal into the text. Interested readers, if they opt to return to the book, as I believe they will, can choose to go straight to particular chapters for further studies on follow-up readings rather pursuing the same A-Z path defining their initial run-through of the book. 


The sections of more high-flown theorizing included in Intelligence in the Digital Age are, invariably, less successful than those driven by data and hard logic alone for obvious reasons. More personal concerns drive ideas about the nature of consciousness and not everyone will concur with Lesch’s conclusions, or others he cites, regarding this phenomena. The book nonetheless retains your interest; a big reason for this is due to Lesch’s inherent writing skill luring you into his web on each page. Intelligence in the Digital Age: How the Search for Something Larger May Be Imperiled may be a slightly unwieldy title, but the contents are far from that. Instead, Lyn Lesch’s book will likely harbor a high degree of relevance for many years to come despite inevitable changes in our technological, social, and psychological makeup.

Nicole Killian

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Nicole loves to go cross country skiing, swimming, reading and critiquing books, listening and critiquing music, some culinary arts, pottery, spending time with my daughter, cheesy horror films.

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