SOME sociologists reckon Google could be seen as the new god because it is omnipresent, infinite and potentially immortal.
But American technology writer Nicholas Carr argues in his book The Shallows that, the internet is changing how our brains work, We are getting lost in an ocean of fast-scrolling superficial information. It is making us shallow and chipping away our 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, says Carr. 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’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages.’’
There’s nothing wrong with absorbing information quickly and in bits. The ability to scan and browse is as important as the ability to read deeply and think attentively. The problem is that skimming is becoming our dominant mode of thought. Acquiring bits of knowledge is not the same as acquiring wisdom.
We’ve pumped up our adrenaline so much that we no longer, it seems, have time for philosophical or spiritual reflection.
We live in a world where almost everyone knows Disney, Lady GaGa and McDonalds but Plato is less and less known, even in Greece.
Our culture has a tendency to drama.
The shock jocks report breathlessly on celebrity misbehaviour, walkouts, threats, political power play and schism. Everything is a crisis and were addicted to it. Calmness is seen as inaction.
It’s all cyclical of course, What goes round comes round.