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Presenter Turns Audience’s Collective Eye to Imagery’s Implication

The evening's guest is introduced by Mark D. Noe, professor of English-composition, who became acquainted with McCauley through a book-group discussion of his “Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not."
The evening’s guest is introduced by Mark D. Noe, professor of English-composition, who became acquainted with McCauley through a book-group discussion of his “Why Religion Is Natural and Science Is Not.”
McCauley listens to opening remarks alongside Wendy A. Miller, director of academic operations, and Chris E. Miller, chief of police and director of campus safety, who both would later preside over the Q&A session.
McCauley listens to opening remarks alongside Wendy A. Miller, director of academic operations, and Chris E. Miller, chief of police and director of campus safety, who both would later preside over the Q&A session.
Weaving personal observation and philosophical thought – and invoking such disparate sources as cultural critic Neil Postman, Walt Disney and quasi-celebrity Lindsay Lohan – McCauley enthralls the crowd.
Weaving personal observation and philosophical thought – and invoking such disparate sources as cultural critic Neil Postman, Walt Disney and quasi-celebrity Lindsay Lohan – McCauley enthralls the crowd.
Students, employees and the general public soak up the stimulating talk in the ACC Auditorium.
Students, employees and the general public soak up the stimulating talk in the ACC Auditorium.
The speaker animatedly differentiates between a basic skill like learning to walk and the specialized accomplishment of mastering literacy.
The speaker animatedly differentiates between a basic skill like learning to walk and the specialized accomplishment of mastering literacy.

The perilous pervasiveness of visual information formed the foundation for the third installment of the 2016-17 Technology & Society Colloquia Series, featuring Robert N. McCauley’s presentation of “A General Assertion Is Worth Innumerable Pictures.” In a challenging and fascinating 90 minutes that drew distinctions between maturational development (walking and talking) and “practiced naturalness” (reading and writing), the Emory University professor followed the societal consequences of visual stimuli from the proliferation of the printing press to the even-more-explosive availability and accessibility of digital media. “These kinds of technologies … change human interest, the things we think about – advertisers, web designers, TV folks know what images grab your attention and, therefore, what things will dominate your thought – and they also alter the character of human community, the context in which our thoughts take shape,” he said. “The increasing acquisition of information by means of the electronic transmission of images may be undoing familiar aspects of human community, human thought and, finally, I think, even human identity … that merit our attention and considered response, both individually and collectively.” The next Colloquium will be at 7 p.m.  Tuesday, April 4: “Cyberattacks: The Weapon of Choice of Criminals, Terrorists and Spies,” featuring part-time accounting instructor William E. Ebersole. McCauley’s Feb. 7 lecture, which was followed by a Brown Bag Luncheon in College Avenue Labs the following day, has been added to the Penn College YouTube channel.
Photos by Tia G. La, student photographer

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