According to Nicholas Carr in his article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”, the dawn of computers, the onset of the internet and the plague of advertisements has rewired our brains. Carr says that after prolonged use we can not focus on long articles and novels, all we want is a summary and a picture. Do I believe that the majority of people think this way now? Yes. Do I think that the main-stream use of the internet has played a role in this re-wiring of our brains? Maybe. Does majority of the population have Attention Deficit Disorder solely because they’ve browsed the internet? No.
Carr says in his article that “My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles.” This is the way that the internet does things. It will give you exactly what you want as soon as you click the button. It’s not a huge process to go the library, search through the books and find the text that you want, all you have to do is type your search into Google.
This isn’t the first time that this has happened. The re-wiring of our brain happens any time new technology comes into existence. Carr writes, “The mechanical clock, which came into common use in the 14th century, provides a compelling example.” Before the clock, you did everything when your body told you to, now you do it because the clock tells you to. But would you say the clock is a bad thing? I wouldn’t. And I wouldn’t say that the internet is a bad thing either.
When Carr gave the imagery of “…what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation.” a couple of things come to mind. First being Facebook. You don’t just go on Facebook for a minute and then go somewhere else. I know people that spend hours and hours a day just strolling around the metropolis of Facebook. Some may call it a distraction but that is the most concentration I’ve seen since I watched Curling on the Olympics last year.
We also have to remember all of the other distractions in our environment, the internet is not the only thing influencing us. Look at all of the short commercials on TV, the flashy billboards and action-packed movie trailers in hopes of catching just a second of our interest. I think because the internet is so ply-able, we make it what we want it to be and what resembles everything already around us, which is short, quick and moving on to the next topic.
With the way the internet looks right now, it is probably a factor in changing our brains to think in quicker time slots and making us not be able to read a whole book in one sitting. But I definitely do not think that it is the only factor. The web is a great tool and I believe it is only making us better.
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments, @DevonSchreiner, @InflectoVita or on our Facebook Page.