I see that a subscription to The Nation now allows you online access to every article, editorial, and review back to 1865. Now, that's a deal.
The Atlantic has an article called, "Is Google Making Us Stoopid? What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains" by Nicholas Carr.
It seems it is shortening our attention spans, and loosening our ability to contemplate and think deeply.
The whole article is worth reading, but in light of shortened attention spans, I give the last two paragraphs, plus the last sentence from the one before. Nicolas Carr:
Deep reading, as Maryanne Wold argues, is indistinguishable from deep thinking.
If we lose those quiet spaces, or fill them up with "content," we will sacrifice something important not only in ourselves but in our culture. In a recent essay, the playwright Richard Foreman eloquently described what's at stake:
I come from a tradition of Western culture, in which the ideal (my ideal) was the complex, dense and "cathedral-like" structure of the highly educated and articulate personality - a man or woman who carried inside themselves a personally constructed and unique version of the entire heritage of the West. [But now] I see within us all (myself included) the replacement of complex inner density with a new kind of self - evolving under the pressure of information overload and the technology of the "instantly available".
As we are drained our our "inner repertory of dense cultural inheritance," Foreman concluded, we risk turning into "pancake people - spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button."
I'm haunted by that scene in 2001. What makes it so poignant, and so weird, is the computer's emotional response to the disassembly of its mind: its despair as one circuit after another goes dark, its childlike pleading with the astronaut - "I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm afraid" - and its final reversion to what can only be called a state of innocence. HAL's outpouring of feeling contrasts with the emotionlessness that characterizes the human figures in the film, who go about their business with an almost robotic efficiency. Their thoughts and actions feel scripted, as if they're following the steps of an algorithm. In the world of 2001, people have become so machinelike that the most human character turns out to be a machine. That's the essence of Kubrick's dark prophecy: as we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.
Well, that should send us all joyfully out into this beautiful day. I am over to the East Bay to a shower for Frieda, and I am setting intention to spend less time on the computer and more time with the trees!!
Happy Beautiful Day!!