Dedicated to distraction
Carr submitted to the world that “Google is making us stupid”. Is Google Making Us Stupid? has an analogy that summarizes how Carr’s and many other people think: “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.” To put this to the test, I read a chapter from Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur printed out, and tried to isolate myself from anyone or thing that would hinder my comprehension. I set my cell alarm for 40 minutes, put my computer on a sleep timer and shut my door. Within 5 minutes, I was aware of my computer going into sleep mode but able to retain the visual of Andrew Keen at a hippie/corporate camping trip that was focusing on media being “democratized”. Another 5 minutes into the piece, my step mom wanted to know what I wanted for dinner and if I could move my car. Pointing at my keys I told her I have to read without an interruption for 30 more minutes, she was confused and probably thought I was making up an excuse. I had to re-read a paragraph after that debacle, but was able to continue my flow of deep reading easily. Although there was a strong urge to pick up the phone to see how much time was left and temptations to awaken my computer, I refrained from doing so and read on. The idea that caught my attention was that there is no longer a distinction between the author and audience. There is no authority, no body can validate the information on Wikipedia…they can only edit it. People that are being listened to are the ones that are the most shocking or loudest, not those who have credentials and actual expertise. This is essentially making culture a thing of the past, or soon will. As I read on about how technology is popularizing talentless nobodies, I was even more compelled to read and forget about my distractions. Carr is correct when he says we have become accustomed to instant gratification at any cost, but I do not think we are unable to think for ourselves and involve our minds. It is a matter of energy we invest to ignore the margins and read into the material rather than just absorb what is on the surface.