Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Nicholas Carr's book, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, is definitely food for thought. Reviewers (Wall Street Journal) have acknowledged Carr's points and recognize that our Internet browsing habits have indeed affected how our minds work. We (Internet browsers) feel more distracted and seem to be losing our ability for deep thought.

An analogy that Carr uses involves an imaginary bathtub (long term memory) and a thimble (working memory.) When we read a book, we control the flow of information from one faucet and can transfer a coherent stream with our thimble to the bathtub. But on the Net, we have many faucets going full blast and we end up with a jumble of disjointed facts as we rush from faucet to faucet.

How do we fix this problem? One librarian suggests making reading a print book part of our daily routine. If we lose the ability for deep thought, we lose the ability to create new connections necessary for cultural advancement.

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