ERIC Number: ED362841
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Sep-29
Reference Count: N/A
Tales of the Once-Born and the Twice-Born in the Divided City: The Necessity of Literacy in a Print Culture.
Bhola, H. S.
This paper is based on the premise that the myth of the "Twice-Born" perpetuated by the high-caste Hindus of ancient India; the metaphors of re-birth, freedom, and light used by new literatures coming out of adult literacy classes; and current socio-biological theories of human evolution all speak to the truly transformational character of writing (or literacy). A four-part argument is presented which supports the necessity of literacy in a print culture. Part I argues that literacy is a multiplier of the capacity to make "symbolic transformations of reality" and therefore literacy generates multiple economic opportunities, social possibilities, political participation and enrichment, and enjoyment of culture. Part II argues that the illiterate were always at a disadvantage, but in contemporary times the disadvantage of illiteracy has become both all-pervasive and deeply hurtful. Part III argues that the disadvantages of illiteracy, which appear internationally, are manifested as poverty, malnutrition, ill-health, infant mortality, low age expectancy, exclusion from services delivered by the state, and inequality before the law. Part IV argues that while literacy can transform inner spiritual space and outer social space, these processes must be deliberately and patiently cultivated. The conclusion claims it is in the interest of the privileged to pick up the poor and desperate, feed them, clothe them, humanize them and help them walk on their own two feet, all of which will require the rich to significantly decrease their own material standards of living. Three tables and 24 notes are included. (NH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Educational Issues; Literacy as a Social Process
Note: Paper presented as part of the Distinguished Adult Education Lecture Series of the Center for Excellence in Adult Learning (Detroit, MI, September 29, 1993).