…the risk that people seem most reluctant taking is not a physical but a mental one: just as the concrete in children’s playgrounds has been covered with rubber, so the hard truth about the effort needed for intellectual attainment is being softened by a sort of semantic padding.
…now that all formerly difficult subject matter is, if not exactly permitted, readily accessible, cultural artificers have no need to aim high. The displacement of aesthetically and intellectually difficult art as the zenith has resulted in all sorts of sad and interrelated phenomena.
…the most disturbing result of this retreat from the difficult is to be found in arts and humanities education, where the traditional set texts are now chopped up into boneless nuggets of McKnowledge, and students are encouraged to do their research - such as it is - on the web.
In place of the difficulty involved in seeking out the literary canon, younger people are coming to rely on search engines to do their thinking for them. The end result of this will be a standardisation of understanding itself, as people become unable to think outside of the box-shaped screen.
Learning should be challenging, it’s why you learn; to comprehend challenging topics and knowledge. On the other hand, I don’t think unnecessary challenging or obscure words enhances the text or lecture. Make it comprehendible and let the topic provide the challenge.