First read the New York Times book review of Nicholas Carr’s latest book, by Jonah Lehrer: The Shallows – What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain.
This was an interesting article. From the review: “Carr argues that we are sabotaging ourselves, trading away the seriousness of sustained attention for the frantic superficiality of the Internet.” This is the same interesting guy that in 1998 wrote the article “Is Google Making Us Stupid.” Trying to read that entire article personally reinforced a few of Carr’s points. The article is long, and it takes concentration to get through it. Do you have the patience to read every word of it? Nick Carr’s Blog, Rough Type, has lots of interesting thoughts from around the world on his studies. It’s hard to argue with what they say when you read them. The review presents many views. It’s not a two-sided argument, cut-and-dry. There’s gray between the black and white.
It’s interesting how we can see what he’s saying from both sides. On one hand, I know perfectly well what he means by skimming through articles looking for the worthwhile nuggets that I’m after, and on the other hand I can see how I don’t really want to concentrate on anything for any length of time, when it comes to genuine in-depth studying. Thankfully, doing physical things is not as affected by our quick-run-through habits we’re developing from reading on the net. I don’t have as much trouble sticking with washing the dishes as I do with concentrating on something I’m reading for a long time. How about you? My daughter-in-law Fiona can spend hours, days, weeks doing manual labor in her many gardens… planting, working the soil, weeding, etc. Can any of us still read, analyze and study for such sustained periods of time? I know that I have lost some of my ability to do this. Maybe it’s because I’ve recently joined the 50+ generation, or because I’m a net junkie, or a combination of the two.
Having just started back to school in a Master’s program, it will be interesting to try and compare my studying during my Bachelor’s degree years, “pre-net” (can you spell dinosaur?) and my 2010 study habits now that my mind has been wrapped in the web since its inception.
What’s your take on this one?