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This note on Literacy is a short introduction to our "On-Line Information Processing Program".

Words -- where would we be without them? We would still be drawing pictures on the walls of caves. Of all of the tools for getting ahead in life, the ability to read and write is very close to being the absolutely most important.

Our most fundamental communications technology -- and a key tool for progress -- is the "organized" putting together of characters into words and then into phrases that convey meaning and information. Yes, knowing the "rules of grammar" is crucial to success in your career.

Today, we can hardly imagine a world without home computers.  What about a home without books and the printed word? This is where I will be linking to stories about reading and writing, books and literacy. The spread of literacy has always been a question of attitude. This link provides a view of attitudinal change in Scotland 250 years ago -- the "profaine art of poem-making" grew into an age of enlightenment.

Attitude to Learning

Once you are satisfied that you can read and write reasonably well, your next step to success is to develop the right attitude to learning. Assess your present attitude to learning. Ask yourself: "What could I miss out on if I stop learning"? Write a five-year plan -- where you want to be in your career five years from now and the steps you should take to get there. You'll find that you simply can't get there unless you include continuous learning as the foundation for your plan.

By reading, you acquire information. By processing that information in your mind, you learn. By writing down your own analysis and interpretation of that information, you learn even more -- much more. And those who read what you have written will learn too.

From The Scarboro Heights Record V9 #5

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Enlightenment and Cultural Pursuits in Lowland Scotland

The underpinning of the new capitalist system -- the generation of wealth -- did not blind Lowland society to other human needs. The late eighteenth century in Scotland was a period of enlightenment and cultural achievement. Tenant and middle class Scots contributed enormously to the development of philosophy, science, medicine, education, history and literature.

As the old cooperative system of holding land broke down, enterprise was rewarded with a secure personal lease on a good-sized farm. Working their own fields independently of others gave the tenant farmer a sense of individualism on the land. The Lowland tenant class soon learned to express their new identity in cultural terms.

The lower and tenant classes were no longer isolated from the outside world: provided they could afford to buy or borrow it, the print media was a bonafide "information revolution", crucial to the outstanding performance of Scots in world affairs and economic development.

Some, however, became so immersed in literary pursuits and "leisure" activities that their farms suffered:

My uncle Sandy (Alexander) Glendinning farmed Holmains (formerly the seat of Carruthers of Holmains) conjunctly with his father in law for eight years. His father in law and cousin, William Park, also a remarkably intelligent man, latterly obtained the post of Editor of the Dumfries Standard but died soon after. Both [were] very clever men and very bad farmers. William was steady but absorbed in literary pursuits. Sandy was literary too with a dash of poetic genius, but unsteady. He was a capital hand at any kind of labour, worked well and minded his farm for a month or so and then took a "rambolt" as he termed it, mounted his horse and flew up and down all the country for a week or so. This could not continue. He lost the farm and soon after William's death emigrated to Canada .[i]

Sandy Glendinning's poems had an attentive readership in Canada. In 1871 he published Rhymes in London, Ontario .

[i]               "Account of the Glendinnings in Cassock, Eskdalemuir".


The Scarboro Heights Record V13 #9