I’m currently reading Nicholas Carr’s “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains”.
The central premise is that the Internet – with its “cacophony of stimuli” competing for our attention – is fundamentally changing the way we think. We’re losing our ability focus our attention and concentrate deeply. We’re becoming distracted and shallow.
This shift, argues Carr, is more than just functional/superficial. It’s actually changing the structure of our brains – and not for the better.
Is this a profound prognostication? Or alarmist nonsense?
I haven’t fully formed my opinion yet. If I can stay focused long enough to finish the book, perhaps I’ll follow up later…*
In the meantime, I thought I’d share some wonderful (and easily-digestible) quotations:
“Once I was a scuba diver in a sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a jet ski.”
“We don’t see the forest when we search the web. We don’t even see the trees. We see twigs and leaves.”
Carr compares us to lab rats, “pressing the levers to get tiny pellets of social or intellectual nourishment”.
Rings true, doesn’t it? It’s passages like these that keep me reading.
* But seriously… you may be wondering why I’d blog about a book I haven’t even finished yet. I wrestled with that myself. Ultimately, I decided that waiting until I was finished was pointless: you’d all be too distracted to read an in-depth review anyway.