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The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
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The argument in question?
- Greater access to knowledge is not the same as greater knowledge.
- An ever-increasing plethora of facts & data is not the same as wisdom.
- Breadth of knowledge is not the same as depth of knowledge.
- Multitasking is not the same as complexity.
The studies that Carr presents are troubling, to say the least. From what has been gleaned to date, it's clear that the brain retains a certain amount of plasticity throughout life -- that is, it can be reshaped, and the way that we think can be reshaped, for good or for ill. Thus, if the brain is trained to respond to & take pleasure in the faster pace of the digital world, it is reshaped to favor that approach to experiencing the world as a whole. More, it comes to crave that experience, as the body increasingly craves more of anything it's trained to respond to pleasurably & positively. The more you use a drug, the more you need to sustain even the basic rush.
And where does that leave the mind shaped by deep reading? The mind that immerses itself in the universe of a book, rather than simply looking for a few key phrases & paragraphs? The mind that develops through slow, quiet contemplation, mulling over ideas in their entirety, and growing as a result?Read more ›
Carr argues that with the advent of reading humanity developed a different kind of neural structure. Reading which was an extension of story- telling enabled us to begin to speak to ourselves, to contemplate reality in deeper ways. The bookman mind is a deeper mind than the electronic - mind , despite MacLuhan's contrary take.
Still one might argue that we need not be the slaves of the predominant technology. It all depends upon the will, decision, determination of the individual. The horde may decide to operate in a certain way, but one has the power to shut the machine off.Read more ›
The Shallows is a thoroughly and broadly researched and beautifully written polemic which I found to represent two different things. First, it is a media analysis and culture critique. Second it is a pessimistic theory about the overall effect of web media on our thinking ability over time.
The first aspect will be a delight for those interested in the evolution of human cognition, those fascinated with media effects per se, the traditionally minded book scholars, and assorted geezers. It is a very satisfying cultural media critique very much in the spirit of Marshall Macluhan and Neil Postman even though it lacks Macluhan's showmanship or Postman's remarkable ever-present humor.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have not stopped using the knowledge I gained from this book every since I read it 4years ago. It changed my life, that's for certain. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Shayen
An exhaustive and at times tedious look at the way our brains process information in the age of digital information overload. Read morePublished 18 days ago by BemisReviewsBooks
Really great book. I had to read it for my College Eng class. I will not be reselling it.Published 1 month ago by Shananagins
A lot more history than I wanted, but the main point was great.Published 1 month ago by Gatsby lover
Ever since becoming a Baha'i, I've encountered phrases and themes in Baha'u'llah's Writings such as "Reflect and Ponder", "....meditate deeply", ".... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Aaron_Zanzibari
Very in depth using historical background. Am really enjoying this book.Published 2 months ago by Maxine Alba