Candide sent me The Shallows, and although I'm just one chapter in I'm finding it full of interesting truthiness. To wit:
'As McLuhan suggested, media aren’t just channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.'
I'd blamed that on my various dire illnesses + aging, but of course what the author says makes sense. When I reached the conclusion a year or so ago that people are becoming more homogenous as a necessary condition to enable them to share a significant percentage of their interests/proclivities/concerns with billions, my theory depended upon the Internet to reset human sharing capability to a global rather than a village level. [We must be near a tipping point when there will be no more "them," only "us."]
My theory is called Everything-I-Thought-Is-Wrong, as I lamented loss of individualism, and lamented for instance the loss of the ability for people to write with a pen (they are only taught to print now) as I believe it means their brains develop differently. So they do, but it doesn't matter. I wrote all my university notes with a fountain pen. All of them. But if we are to achieve us-ness then there must be less form to each person; it's not that only malleable blobs can come together, but that only shaped pieces that all have the same shape can fit together - like a drawing by MC Escher.
'Course when the electrical grid fails ...
posted by - 6:47 PM
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