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Disconnect

January 9, 2013

I just read a couple of articles (this one and this one) that explain how our technology is making us ‘less human’ in a manner of speaking. I would strongly recommend reading both the articles, they’re pretty damn fascinating.

The argument is that in a day there is a limited amount of highly focussed attention that we can give any one thing without “burning out”, or completely exhausting ourselves. Which is something that we can figure out ourselves, I think. Doesn’t take the brain the size of a planet.

But they also mention that we live in the middle of an information glut. With cellphones ringing all the time, and Facebook and Twitter perpetually reminding us that there’s people to talk to and stuff to look at, it’s pretty hard to focus on one thing. By the time we’ve spent enough time on one thing toreallyget into it, we’ve already received a new tweet from Lady Gaga and our status has been ‘llked’ by about 8 people. Clearly not the most conducive atmosphere to really engage with onething in any depth.

This isn’t a new idea at all… Ray Bradbury used it as the central theme in his book Farenheit 451 (a spectacular book, if you were wondering). A world where people are assaulted with TV and entertainment so much that books and ‘knowledge’ are things to fear, and if encountered, destroyed. After reading it, I realized how close to reality he’d struck, what with people texting while talking to other people, or going for a hike and tweeting about it at the same time. There is a very fundamental ‘humanness’ to sitting down with someone/something and really getting to know them/it. I really enjoy my research, because it forces me to slow down and think.

And as the BBC article also points out, if we get used to instantly forming an opinion, or get accustomed to instantly ‘liking’ or ‘disliking’ something that someone has done, it’s a lot easier (effort-wise) to just fall into that routine and not engage with anything substantially, and that’s a pretty scary thought. Everything that I findreallyenjoying in any way takes a hell of a lot of time and effort, but after putting in that time and effort I’m a pretty satisfied person.

I really need to figure out when to listen to what channel of communication so I don’t get sucked into this endless loop of yelling my opinions at the top of my voice. As Ze Frank would say… slow down.

P.S – +10 irony points for posting this on Tumblr and automatically tweeting it at the same time.

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