My friend passed this article along today. In a nutshell, it basically says that the common use of the Internet is reprogramming the way that we think, and we’re losing the ability to concentrate on longer things. At least that’s what I think it says, because it got all long and technical and I ended up skimming quite a bit. The irony is not lost on me.
My husband and I were having this exact same conversation yesterday. It went down in the grocery store parking lot.
Me: I think I’m dumbing down.
Hubby: Why is that?
Me: I can’t concentrate anymore. I lose interest right in the middle of…
Hubby: (waits patiently)
Hubby: Uh, Sadie?
Me: Oh, look, kids! A bird!
This hurts because I’m an intelligent woman. But suddenly I’m feeling like I should be sitting in the corner and wearing a dunce cap. My ability to wrap my mind around things is eroding. Take computers, for example.
Computery Friend: All right. Now I want you to shut it down and start it back up just like I showed you.
Computery Friend: You can check your notes.
Me: (Reading) Go to computer hard drive. Uh…here?
Computery Friend: (Longing for a strong drink) …yes.
Me: I have other skills, you know! If you were lost in a foreign country, I could totally get you back on onto the right train.
Computery Friend: I believe you.
But it’s more than this. I don’t take the time to read like I used to. When I do read, I’m reading two or three or four works at a time. When I really settle down, I can read a novel in a day, but lately it’s been taking me weeks. Last night we watched Howl’s Moving Castle, and I had to make a conscious effort to close down the computer and pay attention. Then I jumped up to do the dishes, clean around the living room a bit, wash my face, and tend to the kids. I remember having awesome movie marathons with my friends in high school, and we’d slay two, three movies at a time. Yeah…no way.
So what do we do? Accept it? Call it a new way of life? Or unplug? I know half of my brain-drain stems from working in five to ten minute increments, since that’s all the kids allow. Tiny, wonderful, needy little things, but it won’t always be this way. One day they’ll be able to get their own drinks of water and my world will open up again. But the rest? I think that I’m just going to have to call on the ole’ discipline again. We’re a society of zero discipline, and have forgotten how to buckle down and work for the things that we want as a whole, but that’s a rant for another day. The end result is that now that I’m aware how distracted I truly am, I can take the measures needed to make sure that I
Two more rejections.
Pieces out: 36