Dimitri Casali, historien : « Nous sommes en pleine régression intellectuelle »

Selon Dimitri Casali, la société bascule dans l’ignorance. Chaque jour la science nous apporte de nouvelles découvertes. Mais d’après l’historien, jamais l’ignorance n’a gagné autant de terrain.

Selon Dimitri Casali, la société bascule dans l’ignorance. Chaque jour la science nous apporte de nouvelles découvertes. Mais d’après l’historien, jamais l’ignorance n’a gagné autant de terrain.

Qu’est-ce qui vous permet d’affirmer que nous assistons à une lente montée de l’ignorance ?

Ce qui est intéressant, c’est de constater qu’à mesure que le progrès scientifique s’accumule vers un savoir de plus en plus exact, on peut mesurer à travers le monde une lente montée de l’ignorance. En France, par exemple, les chiffres sont là : nous comptons 6 % d’illettrés, c’est-à-dire environ 3 millions de personnes. Si on additionne les personnes analphabètes qui ont des difficultés à lire et à écrire le français, on arrive à près de 10 % de la population.

 

Ce constat est à mettre en corrélation avec le piètre classement de notre école. Nous sommes désormais 27e au classement international PISA. Il y a vingt ans, l’école française était 10e. En 17 ans, nous avons perdu 17 places. Dans les années 80, nous étions dans les cinq premiers, et nous avions l’un des meilleurs systèmes scolaires au monde. Dans une dictée test élémentaire de dix lignes données par l’Éducation nationale elle-même, les élèves faisaient en moyenne 10 fautes en 1987 alors qu’ils en font aujourd’hui 18. Il faut prendre conscience du phénomène qui devient vraiment effrayant.

Est-ce un phénomène qui touche le monde entier ?

 

Oui, c’est une constante. Selon une récente projection de l’ONU, l’an prochain, le monde arabe comptera 25 % d’analphabètes. Et il publie actuellement moins de 1 % du marché mondial du livre. Le monde arabe a publié plus de livres entre VIIIe et le XIIe siècle qu’aujourd’hui. Il y a ces prédicateurs saoudiens qui apprennent à leurs étudiants que la terre est plate et dernièrement, à l’Université de Sfax en Tunisie, qui est pourtant l’un des pays arabes les plus avancés, une chercheuse voulait démontrer aussi que la terre était plate et qu’elle ne tournait pas autour du soleil.

On voit bien que nous sommes en pleine régression intellectuelle dans le monde. C’est vrai aussi aux États-Unis où 46 % des Américains pensent que la Terre a moins de 10 000 ans. C’est ce qu’on appelle les créationnistes qui commencent à prendre pied en France, en Angleterre, en Turquie où ils sont déjà très nombreux. Et en corrélation avec cette montée de l’ignorance, on assiste à une montée de l’islamisme. Ce vide spirituel et culturel qui saisit nos sociétés est l’avatar du djihadisme, du complotisme, du fanatisme et de l’obscurantisme.

À partir de quand peut-on dater, selon vous, cette montée de l’ignorance ?

Je vois un lien évident avec la révolution numérique. Cela a démarré dans les années 2000 où on a assisté à une surinformation qui a conduit à l’ignorance. Les 15-29 ans ne lisent plus de livres. En revanche, ils lisent davantage sur les réseaux sociaux, les blogs… D’après une étude de l’Université de Yale, la lecture sur internet n’est pas la même : les informations se superposent les unes aux autres alors que la lecture d’un livre permet de pénétrer les pensées de l’auteur et de structurer les informations.

Cela organise le cerveau. D’autres études sont à rapprocher de cela : les Français auraient perdu 4 points de QI entre 1989 et 2009, phénomène mesuré aussi en Angleterre ou aux États-Unis. Wikipédia est le plus bel exemple des effets pervers d’internet. On a donné la culture aux imbéciles. Si dans le domaine scientifique, les notices sont rédigées par des experts, dans le domaine de la littérature et en histoire, c’est un agrégat d’informations nivelées par le plus grand nombre. Il n’y a plus de hiérarchisation du savoir. On est à l’époque du relativisme culturel. Tout se vaut. Ainsi la page de Kim Kardashian sera bientôt plus longue que celle de Montaigne et le grand poète grec Homère a déjà moins d’articles que Homer Simpson.

Y a-t-il un moyen d’éradiquer la montée de phénomène ?

Bien sûr, il faut replacer la culture générale et l’histoire au centre de nos préoccupations. Et d’abord à l’école. Or, depuis une trentaine d’années, la culture générale a été abandonnée. Les fameux pédagogistes de la rue de Grenelle ont remplacé la transmission du savoir et des connaissances par de simples compétences techniques. L’idée est de faire un homme nouveau, sans racines ni héritages, un bon consommateur. Rappelez-vous que Philippe Mérieu et Bourdieu préconisaient quand même d’apprendre à lire dans les notices d’appareil électroménager et non plus grâce aux textes de Hugo ou de Molière… Il faut sortir de ce rejet de la culture classique française qui fait du mal aux esprits faibles. Et cesser de croire que nous devons tous être égaux dans la médiocrité.

“La longue montée de l’ignorance – obscurantismes, fanatismes : il n’y a pas de hasard dans l’Histoire” (Éditions First), 304 pages, 16,95 €.

 

Source: Midi libre

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