Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Is the Internet Re-wiring Our Brains?

[Thanks to TTL]

Many people, including myself, seem to get shorter attention spans these days.
Is the web to blame, or does it go deeper? Me, I guess the Net has part responsibility, but couldn't have such a profound effect alone, there must be more to it. Is time speeding up?



I better say it, to get it out of the way: I'd like to think about this, but I couldn't get through the 3-minute video...

Update:
Laurie said:

I recently talked to an 17 year old girl, president of her class, very bright. She was texting someone as she was conversing with me. She was telling me that kids of her generation feel real anxiety about simply looking someone in the face and talking with them, without also being on an iPhone, or texting at the same time. She said it makes kids feel nervous to actually do stuff "in person," rather than through a screen. As she spoke to me she I had to kind of screw up my eyes and really concentrate, she was talking so fast, and she wasn't at all physically present. I actually commented on this to her, and she said, "yeah, that's what I mean. I can't just talk to you and do nothing else."

I was weird at that age, even for my age. I spent two years in a silent Zen monastery, I couldn't do two things at the same time. These days I would be considered retarded, or slow, and this makes sense. Now you see why I need lots of space :)

The brain IS being re-wired to suit the unfolding needs of human consciousness, why not? 
-

11 comments:

Michael Burton said...

You stole my comment!

Michael Burton said...

A 3-minute video of a guy reading a blog post he thought would be too boring for anyone to read is a sub-optimal use of bandwidth.

He should have thrown in some dancing penguins or sneezing pandas.

Anonymous said...

I recently talked to an 17 year old girl, president of her class, very bright. She was texting someone as she was conversing with me. She was telling me that kids of her generation feel real anxiety about simply looking someone in the face and talking with them, without also being on an iPhone, or texting at the same time. She said it makes kids feel nervous to actually do stuff "in person," rather than through a screen. As she spoke to me she I had to kind of screw up my eyes and really concentrate, she was talking so fast, and she wasn't at all physically present. I actually commented on this to her,
and she said, "yeah, that's what I mean. I can't just talk to you and do nothing else."

I was weird at that age, even for my age. I spent two years in a silent Zen monastery, I couldn't do two things at the same time. These days I would be considered retarded, or slow, and this makes sense. Now you see why I need lots of space :)

The brain IS being re-wired to suit the unfolding needs of human consciousness, why not? but isn't it all more phantasmagoria in the dream?
Laurie

eolake said...

Highly interesting, thanks, particularly that she is so aware of it.

Jes said...

Well, I think the main issue is people get addicted to this stuff and let it rule their lives. I mean, I spend my fair share of time on the internet, too. But I also try to get outside as often as I can, read somewhere in the area of a book a month, play guitar at least(emphasize at least) an hour everyday, and spend less than five minutes a day on facebook. If I have my computer on for too long, I get bored. Sometimes I'll go somewhere that doesn't have internet access for a few days, and I'm thankful for the experience.

Basically, I try not to use the internet unless I'm actually using it for something. About the only time I do the aimless surfing thing is if I need to unwind. I'm not saying my way's best, but I think people need to learn when to use the internet and when not to use the internet. To me, it seems like a sad life just sitting in front of a computer screen all day everyday.

eolake said...

Well, clearly it can easily become just another "idiot box". But unlike the TV, it can be a great tool too.

Anonymous said...

Life is amazing behind its representation, its screens and mediators. We are monumentally distracted, but that's alright.
Just to have one moment, then two, then a few more moments of complete freedom from the hook-up, the need to be supplied with a self from the outside . . . It is incredible to taste pure life unmediated by gadgets, people or activities we think we can't live without. In a word: external spoon feeding. With the internet our connections are many... in this place I'm talking about our relations are infinite. It's scary at first for more than a few minutes, like breathing in an oxygenless space, then it starts to get easier, like feeling awake as you did as a child. Soon the desire to wake up itself does all the work of breaking through that cellophane of screenage (rehashed thinking). I don't imagine that young girl would know what I'm talking about, or care to know, and for that matter, neither do I!

Laurie

what I'm talking about has very little to do with using computers or not.

Jes said...

"But unlike the TV, it can be a great tool too."

Oh, of course. Like I said, I spend plenty of time on it, too. I just try to be careful about how I'm using it. I wanna make sure I am using it as a tool and not just using it to eat up minutes.

Cado said...

What's funny is I'm part of that generation and I'm terrible and doing more than one thing at once. I can't stand doing something else when I'm talking to somebody. Even when I'm working on a writing project I don't usually have music going; instead I play a few songs to get myself in the right mindset and use the energy as fuel, the exception being when I'm exercising or something like that.

I find it makes me stand out among my peers, both when dealing with those older than me and those who are the same age. People like to be fully engaged, they're just not used to it and often don't know how to do it themselves. It seems to have something to do with how at ease they are in their own skin, and how likely they think you are to judge or mock etc. If they're not focusing so much attention on you it's easier to unplug. Remove the want to unplug and everybody has a good time.

It's amazing how something so simple gives you such an edge.

tom lewis said...

Cado's so desperate to be special.

Anonymous said...

It's because Cado's a former Roly Poly Man. According to his own blog. Once you know that everything he says seems to make sense as far as you know where he's coming from.