Color, of course, is deeply connected to light. What is also happening in the last twenty years or so is that the digital colors have become more intense and, in parallel, the colors of our actual environment are becoming more neutral. The fact that digital color and any kind of digital rendering is presented on a screen means that you look at those colors, whatever they are—even black, white and grays—with light behind them. That in itself gives an added intensity or attraction. Reality is by definition flat in comparison to the experience of seeing colors on a screen. There is an almost disappointing dimension to reality.
In recently history, we’ve created terms like “Instagrammable” as a response to something that we’d previously consider to be “beautiful”
But at best, Instagrammable is limited to “understandable”
In the short term, we’re rewarded for staying limited—For wearing a trendy outfit, showing that we have a lot of friends, or making it clear that we’re traveling in another country. People respond well to these kind of things because it takes a fraction of a second to view and understand what’s going on.
When we only make time for things we already understand, we leave little room for new challenges, growth, and progress.
It’s both a challenge and reward to contribute and consume in a way that forces us to stop and think for more than a fraction of a second.
Physical gestures and body language are “pedagogical tools” which are hard to replicate virtually; rather than imitating the virtues of in-person teaching, online classes should “harness the particular excellence of online education”.
This is a reference to the way Klein teaches online classes. There are no Zoom meetings; instead, he sends out a recorded lecture each week, and students are tasked with writing a paper each week that structurally analyzes the assigned portion of a text. Importantly, he has you write the paper before you listen to the lecture about the reading, because he wants you to puzzle it out on your own, and then use the lecture to reflect on what you missed. The only direct interaction you have with him is through the writing assignments: he reads them and gives you feedback, and you can also use the papers in part to respond to comments from his lectures (since we spend multiple weeks on the same book).
So the “particular excellence” of online education for Klein is that it puts the responsibility on students to learn and engage with the text on their own. And he knows how to structure the class and his lectures in such a way that it motivates you to do this.