Saturday, October 29, 2011
Internet and Superficiality
After a delayed start I'm about half way through Carr's The Shallows. He presents a detailed history of communication using words or symbols (alphabetic or other), taking us from Aristotle's dialogues, through stone carvings, papyrus scrolls, codices, finally to Gutenburg's movable type printing press and books. Then Carr leads us on to digitized words, the Internet and instant messaging. He meticulously points out how each of those progressions has changed human brain physiology (neuroplasticity) and, at this point in the book, he begins to analyze how today's multi-tasking, messaging, and Web browsing foretell losing the brain's ability to handle something he calls "deep reading" and moving toward superficiality. It's interesting that to get to this point in The Shallows I've had to do some pretty "deep reading." I look forward to learning where Carr is taking us in the second half of the book.