Are we losing our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection because of the internet?
Over the last few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going – so far as I can tell – but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I feel it most strongly when I’m reading. — Nicholas Carr
Nicholas Carr is a writer who has published in the areas of technology, business, and culture.
In his June, 2010 release, The Shallows – What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, Carr is saying that the Internet is changing us, remaking us in its own image. If this is true, I’m more than a little concerned.
I used to find it easy to immerse myself in a book or lengthy article … Now my concentration starts to drift after a page or two. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel like I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle. — Nicholas Carr
Are we compromising our ability to read and think deeply? What about creative thought?
We scan. We skim. We are encouraged to sample small bits of information from many different sources, all in a rapid and distracted way. Using the Net in this way is actually rerouting the neural pathways in our brains.
Is the internet making us stupid?
Carr is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard University. He’s a researcher and a writer. Yet, he’s struggling to read after 10 years online. Others are saying the same thing.
The kind of deep reading that a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author’s words but for the intellectual vibrations those words set off within our own minds.
Read Is Google Making Us Stupid? in the The Atlantic (July/Aug 2008), the cover story that ignited a national debate about the Net and how it is changing us. Carr expanded the ideas in this article in The Shallows.
Q4U: Can you relate to what Nicholas Carr is saying? How will you utilize the potential of the Net w/o it compromising concentration, reading, and writing?