Considering going neo-Luddite...

Yep, I'm thinking about unplugging my brain from the intertubes. There's no real benefit to being online, only trouble, and its random (and fake) connections between strangers dissuade us from attempting community in our physical lives.

OK, it's never fully going to happen for me, and I don't fully believe all the doomery-gloomery anyway, but unconsciously I've been enacting resistance to the Google just by ensuring that I keep reading books and newspapers and so forth.

The springboard to all this: Nicholas Carr in the current Atlantic Monthly poses the question "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" - or at least that's what the editors call the article. Really Carr's worrying about the distinctions between print reading practices and screen reading practices, and what that implies about how our brains are wired. It's worth reading in full. In solidarity with Carr's point, I'm not summarizing it further. Read it yourself. Maybe PDF it and print it off first.

Comments

Keith Talent said…
I'd also thought that Google has a pernicious effect on one's ability to recall information - why bother thinking about what the name of that book was, or who wrote that song when you can just use Goo-fu?

Another case of the extended mind?

http://consc.net/papers/extended.html
Jeanne said…
M.T. Anderson satirized many of the effects listed in the Atlantic article in his YA novel entitled Feed.

But if you've read the article and you heed the satire, why worry? Just because something can have bad effects doesn't mean we have to stop using it entirely.
richard said…
Thanks for the reference, Keith - an interesting paper, and I'll have to read it more slowly. (Maybe I'll print it off, if I can get over the green guilt!)

And Jeanne, I'm not planning to do this (see second para), but I do worry about my changing intellectual habits. I finished grad school a decade ago, and I could write like crazy - longhand, because that's how the words made sense. After a half-dozen years away, and now three years into a return, I have real trouble generating text, and real trouble feeling like I've achieved much depth in my writing. Part of this is because I spend so much time using a computer.

Plus I worry about my students. When I teach online, Moodle gives me a report about how many pages each student visits, and how long each student remains on each page. Big Brother concerns aside for a moment, the fact is that they spend a matter of seconds even in a discussion board with a half-dozen new posts. And we're talking about deconstruction, semiotics, and justice: this ain't stuff to make sense of in seconds.
fiona-h said…
Or at all, I might add!!!

(I had to, sorry :-)
richard said…
Hey, you're the one going back to school - let me how the learning goes! ;-)

Popular Posts