Here’s a thought for you: The internet is stealing your brain!
Nicholas Carr, author of a book called The Shallows, reckons that “the net is making us more superficial as thinkers“. This is a remarkable concept to think about because the majority of what one sees on the internet, unless one does a thorough search to sift through the piles of nonsense that Google farms as its most viewed content, is a load of superficial dung, consisting of articles about celebrities and what they like to eat and wear, and the latest pointless scandals around the world.
Here are some facts:
Carr claims the internet is responsible for a noticeable disappearance in attention span (human, of course).
It is interesting to note that our brains release some dopamine when we research or discover new information.
The increase in the availability of the vast pool of information, via smartphones (and other such devices), is creating a compulsive habit within us, promoting us to be constantly aware of what our phones are doing, constantly keeping one ear out for any notifications, constantly reading texts, news articles, social media posts.
The constant distraction of the steady stream of information we are getting from the internet drives our brains into a frenzy, always wanting more.
This way of thinking is stressful, and overwhelms the calm, collected mindset that we humans need to memorise information, by transferring it from our short term memory to our long term memory.
This is an important process because through this process our brains are able to create connections between all the information we have gained, which adds to our “life experiences” and intelligence.
Information is prevented from going into long term memory because of constant distraction, meaning we are prevented from learning anything new.
This concept speaks to me directly because I am extremely guilty of spending hours studying with ten minute breaks in between, during which I surf the internet and read articles/blogs, and watch videos. I have also noticed that for all my hours worth of study, I cannot seem to recall anything remotely helpful from my course materials, which makes me seem very stupid when I attend my tutorials.
It is immensely thought-provoking to me that all the information in the world is just a google search away, and yet a lot of us (especially the younger generation) don’t know much of anything about the world. What we do when we google search information is get it quickly, but don’t have the time to absorb it.
This is why I am taking my time with this post, so that my brain remembers that distractions are ruining my writing ability and my ability to focus for a long time on a book (a habit which I only recently got into) or a film (I habitually check my phone when I am watching something). Also because I want to make sure the information I am writing about here stays with me for a very long time otherwise it is all just a vicious cycle.
Have you noticed any differences in your attention span since embarking on the magnificent journey that is the internet? Do you think a lot of the superficiality that is rampant in this modern, fast-moving world is related to the knowledge we possess at our fingertips? Are we, in short, abusing what we have, at the cost of our own minds?