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09 December 2009 @ 06:03 pm
Frustrating articles that, once again, are doom and gloom  
A friend just sent me this, and I find it interesting (but possibly annoying) enough to link to.

It starts out:

Over the past 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 can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.

[ the full article here at the Atlantic ]

And some of you will say, oh, it's an article from the Atlantic, of course it's going to piss you off. 

However, I do find these kind of articles quite interesting.  They're everywhere.  They bemoan the internet.  It will change our world, for the worse.  It will make us less human, it will make us dumb, it will, somehow, destroy society as we know it and replace it with something soulless, heartless, or mindless.

This one at least concedes on one area:  it doesn't try to pretend that people are reading less than they were.  (this has been, and continues to be, one of the major fear tactics of those who are against media -- to loudly claim that no one reads books anymore and so it's all OVER). 

Instead, however, it complains that our brains' neurological patterns are changing and it won't be for the better.  The thing I find most amusing is that he brings up other technological innovations that have changed our world, both with losses and gains, going from Socrates bemoaning the written word, the invention of the clock, the printing press, and the standardization of industry as examples of technology that were predicted to fundamentally change the world ... and he agrees that they did, in both negative and positive ways.

BUT, he says, you can't trust the internet to do the same thing.  Oh no.  The internet will divorce us from the things that make us intelligent, the internet will make us something other than human, the internet... yes, the internet ... will bring only bad, not good.

And my only response to that at the moment?  A big fat raspberry.  We're actually living in a particular time of change.  How in the hell will we know definitively what will be on the other side?  We don't.  I don't think the internet will solve all the world's problems.  I do think it will change the way we think about information, and as someone who has ALWAYS been better at seeing the larger picture, understanding the overview and the theoretical models but who always has trouble with the details?  I am certainly hopeful that this emphasis on the ability to parse, judge, navigate and understand information will be the result of the internet's presence in our lives.

oh, yeah, and on a personal note i'm still sick and not talking for fear of coughing.  But I managed to finish the Japanese final AND turn in the film paper (even if I did actually forget the printed paper on my way into school, and even though i'd emailed it to myself the printers in the computer lab weren't working, so i had to actually drive back home, and drive the paper back to school, but hey, it's DONE).  One more paper left and I'm home free for the semester.
gray_ghostgray_ghost on December 10th, 2009 12:11 am (UTC)
You hate the Atlantic too? I didn't know that. I despise their articles. They position themselves as the thinking man's defense of the status quo. I think it might have been a good magazine...once. Like about 40 years ago.

I think it's run by a bunch of cranky old white dudes who need to call up their kids to help them check their email.

my monkied brain: _nihon_prayerskatekat1010 on December 10th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
I kinda do - every time I read it, I think I'm supposed to like the articles, and I find myself being TOTALLY annoyed at them.

LOL about the cranky white dudes - probably.