April 17, 2012

Learning and Communicating

I confess that I am a huge Walt Disney World geek. The Disney parks have exerted a huge influence on me, and ever since my first visit in the eighties I have been fascinated by their commitment to storytelling, customer experience, human emotion and happiness.

Among the “classical” Walt Disney World attractions, Spaceship Earth (the iconic 18-story geodesic sphere at Epcot) has played a particularly strong role in shaping what we are doing at POSEFY. The spectacular show building houses a ride that shows guests how advancements in human communication have helped to create the future one step at a time, and I believe that POSEFY will be one of those steps.

Although the script of this ride and its narrators have evolved since its debut in 1982, I would like to share with you some of the pivotal moments in this history of human communication as narrated by Jeremy Irons.

“Like a grand and miraculous spaceship, our planet has sailed through the universe of time. And for a brief moment, we have been among its many passengers. From the very beginning, we have always sought to reach out to one another… to bridge the gaps between us… to communicate.

Across a lonely, hostile planet, our early ancestors spread out in search of food and shelter.

With the development of language came a vital key to our survival. For the first time, we could share and learn from one another. We bonded together in small tribes and prospered. No longer isolated, no longer alone.

Ages later, the Egyptians invented the first written communication - a complex language of hieroglyphic pictures and symbols. With the creation of papyrus scrolls, came the world's first piece of paper. Now, without ever leaving their palaces, pharaohs could deliver proclamations and decrees to subjects across the land.

Phoenician merchants established the earliest commercial highways trading goods and information at distant ports of call. To aid in record keeping, they created the first common alphabet and shared this new tool across the Mediterranean.
In ancient Greece, the spoken word was elevated to a fine art. Philosophers debated with one another in plazas and storytellers found a new forum for personal expression. The theater was born.

The mighty Roman empire bridged three continents with a vast system of roads; the fastest information highways the world had ever known. East, west, north, and south - all roads led to Rome. But these same roads were turned against Rome by invaders whose destruction left ages of knowledge and wisdom in the ashes that would become the Dark Ages.

But all was not lost. For far across the land, from Cairo to Córdoba, Jewish teachers and Islamic scholars continued the quest for knowledge. In libraries of wisdom, they debated ideas and shared new discoveries with all who would listen.

In western abbeys, Monks toil endlessly in lonely isolation copying ancient books of wisdom and revelations for future generations.

Finally, from the depths of the Dark Ages came the Age of Enlightenment: the Renaissance. And with this era, came a powerful new invention: the moveable type printing press. Scientists, explorers, and scholars spread their discoveries in books and essays. Poets, musicians, and artists fuelled by the passion of the age created timeless works of beauty and majesty.

On this wave of inspiration, we sailed into a bold, new era of communication bringing an explosion of tools and technologies which would bridge people around the world as never before. And as our appetite for information and knowledge grew, the world began to shrink.”

Communication has always been fundamental in moving civilization forward, and learning has been an essential part of communication since the dawn of time. Cave paintings, hieroglyphics, papyrus scrolls, the first common alphabet, the monks toiling away to record knowledge in the ancient European monasteries and the printing press have given way to the Internet; Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and hundreds of other services that continue to evolve have allowed us to share and communicate with others.

The visual experience has been decisive in the evolution of how we learn and how we communicate, and we at POSEFY are very much looking forward to assume our role in this journey with a new and more efficient way to teach, learn and communicate.

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