Monday, August 27, 2012

Forced retirement and the value of reading

Today I was back on ABC Radio National's 'Life Matters', with our regular 'Modern Dilemmas' segment (wearing my new Star Trek t-shirt). Dr. Doris McIlwain and I spoke with host Natasha Mitchell.

One listener, Mary, says she had been pressured not to seek work, because she is in her late sixties, and owns her own home. Her job, folks say, should go to younger workers with young children and a mortgage.

I argued that this idea is dubious legally, morally and financially. You can listen here.

***

I also have my regular Canberra Times column today, 'Throwing the book at literary prejudice'. I'm taking issue with ideas of 'book learning', and other biases against the written word. A sample:
Experience does count, but it is also a source of bias, dumb habit, and false foundations or generalisations. If it is the heart of knowledge, it is by no means the only organ. It must be stitched to one's own critical rationality, and others' insights and impressions. We don't just need experience, we need experiences, and not just our own. And these are often best preserved and discovered in the written word. 
Put this way, attacking ''book learning'' is often nothing more than a smug consolation, luxuriating in the well-worn bedclothes of prejudice. When confronted with challenging logic or facts, one dismisses them with the verbal equivalent of covering one's eyes with the blankets.
(Illustration: Miss Auras, by Lavery, c. 1900)

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