The Shallows -- Chapter 2

Submitted by Bibliofuture on Fri, 02/18/2011 - 17:46
Continuing our discussion of the book - The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains Carr refers to the advent of the typewriter and how Friedrich Nietzsche and friends noticed “a change in the style of his writing … tighter … there was a new forcefulness to it, too” (18). Carr provides some lengthy discussion about neuroscience, psychology, and concepts of the nature of the brain. The brain is not entirely fixed but not entirely plastic (malleable) either. Our brains have the advantage of adaptability but once connections are made and utilized frequently, as in how multiple areas of the brain are stimulated and utilized during Internet use, it is difficult to revert to previous settings, so to speak. In summary Carr points out that as much as we would like to think otherwise, the brain is not just a monitor of experience but is significantly, perhaps permanently, changed by experience (38). It is probably obvious from the title but Carr seems to be setting the case that changes which occur to the brain may be irreversible and that the Internet active brain may not be able to create or reestablish the previous connections favored for books. Question: Has your reading of texts changed, e.g., do you feel that you can't read as much or dense of material as you did in the past? If so, is a matter of concentration or not enough time, i.e., too much time spent on the Internet?