Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

There's been a bit of buzz as of late about how the internet is dimishing our capacity to think.
Some people don't think so, some do.

Ken Meyers, who produces the very insightful Mars Hill Audio Journal, recently wrote about this with reference to the recent article Is Google Making us Stupid?. Meyers seems to be arguing that it is changing not only how we think, but that we think. This, he says, does not bode well for our humanity and our ability to pray. And Eugene Peterson, the great Christian sage, reminds us that prayer is our primary means of intimacy--first with God, then out to the people around us.

So here's the equation as I am reading it:
The google-ization of writing=inability to think for long periods of time=inability to focus=inability to pray=inability to connect in any meaningful way with God=loss of ability to be truly intimate with other people=loss of our humanity=destruction of human race as we know it (okay, I'm being a bit dramatic).

But maybe he's right. I do find myself agitated, at least when I'm online, when paragraphs are more than 4-5 sentences. I just scan them or skip them altogether. I've even found myself doing that (yikes!) with books.

Consider this quote (Which is long and definitely more than 5 sentences. See if you can stand to read it to the end):

BlockquoteEverywhere we are confronted by advertising that attempts to force upon us
things we neither want nor really need. We are constantly lured from the important and profound to the distracting, 'interesting,' piquant. This state of
affairs exists not only around but within us. To a large extent man lives without depth, without a center, in superficiality and chance. No longer finding the essential within himself, he grabs at all sorts of stimulants and sensations, he enjoys them briefly, tires of them, recalls his own emptiness and demands new distractions. He touches everything brought within easy reach of his mind by the constantly increasing means of transportation, information, education, and amusement, but he doesn't really absorb anything. He contents himself with having 'heard about it', he labels it with some current catchword, and shoves it aside for the next. He is a hollow man and tries to fill his emptiness with constant, reckless activity. He is happiest when in the thick of things, in the rush and noise and stimulus of quick results and successes. The moment quiet surrounds him, he is lost."

1 comment:

Jared Stoner said...

It might not make us stupid, but certainly dull! I cringe to hear people say we don't need to study the way people used to because you can get all the information you need on Google or Wikipedia. That does not bode well for our future.