The more of your brain you allocate to browsing, skimming, surfing and the incessant, low-grade decision-making characteristic of using the Web, the more puny and flaccid become the sectors devoted to "deep" thought. Furthermore, as Carr recently explained in a talk at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, distractibility is part of our genetic inheritance, a survival trait in the wild: "It's hard for us to pay attention," he said. "It goes against the native orientation of our minds."
Concentrated, linear thought doesn't come naturally to us, and the Web, with its countless spinning, dancing, blinking, multicolored and goodie-filled margins, tempts us away from it. (E-mail, that constant influx of the social acknowledgment craved by our monkey brains, may pose an even more potent diversion.) "It's possible to think deeply while surfing the Net," Carr writes, "but that's not the type of thinking the technology encourages or rewards." Instead, it tends to transform us into "lab rats constantly pressing levers to get tiny pellets of social or intellectual nourishment."
Reminded me of Ray Bradybury's story The Murderer:
What is there about such 'conveniences' that makes them so temptingly convenient? The average man thinks, Here I am, time on my hands, and there on my wrist is a wrist telephone, so why not just buzz old Joe up, eh? 'Hello, hello!' I love my friends, my wife, humanity, very much, but when one minute my wife calls to say, 'Where are you now dear?' and a friend calls and says, 'Got the best off-color joke to tell you. Seems there was a guy------' And a stranger calls and cries out, 'This is the Find-Fax Poll. What gum are you chewing at this very instant!' Well!"
"How did you feel during the week?"
"The fuse lit. On the edge of the cliff. That same afternoon I did what I did at the office."
"I poured a paper cup of water into the intercommunications system."
The psychiatrist wrote on his pad.
"And the system shorted?"
"Beautifully! The Fourth of July on wheels! My God, stenographers ran around looking lost. What an uproar!"
"Felt better temporarily, eh?"
"Fine! Then I got the idea at noon of stomping my wrist radio on the sidewalk. A shrill voice was just yelling out of it at me, 'This is People's Poll Number Nine. What did you eat for lunch?' when I kicked the Jesus out of the wrist radio!"
"Felt even better, eh?"
"It grew on me!" Brock rubbed his hands together. "Why didn't f start a solitary revolution, deliver man from certain 'conveniences'? 'Convenient for whom?' I cried.
I see the dangers, still like the tools.