How The Internet Impairs Intellectual Depth and Cultural Growth

Does the internet affect your brain’s ability to focus and concentrate on deeper levels of thinking? Does it turn you into a surface-level thinker?

According to Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows”, the answer is “Yes”.  And this in turn, affects your learning, understanding, memory, and creativity.

“How”?  Distractions.

The internet is a perpetual distraction. It provides a plethora of random bits of rapid, dynamic information—all at the reach of our fingertips. We are cursory headline readers. We skim and scan articles, never really absorbing anything into our long term memory. We check our emails and social media accounts. We click non-relevant, mind-numbing youtube videos.  We are constantly distracted by a sea of new information.

And the distractions are physiological addictions!  Each time we receive new bits of information our brains produce small doses of dopamine. The more we click, the more we crave for more.

Why is this so bad? Because it affects our deep thinking and memories.

Distractions prevent our brains from learning and remembering what we just read. In order for our working memory to store new information into our long term memory, we need to concentrate on the new information long enough so that it can be coded into long term memory. If we are constantly being distracted, our brain doesn’t have the time it needs to process and store the information into long-term memory.

The distractions stop us from deep thinking.  Deep thinking is a mental process, a higher mode of thinking; a place where we solve problems and create new concepts. It’s essential for intellectual growth, discovery, creativity and personal depth. Deep thinking is the foundation of our “conceptual system”: the place where ideas and concepts are formed, where deductive reasoning and empirical analysis takes place.

Remember those “Ah-huh” moments? That’s it.

Deep thinking is authentic intelligence and “differs from the artificial intelligence of “big data” and “analytics”. Deep Thinking: What Mathematics Can Teach Us About The Mind, by William Breyers.

To return to higher modes of thinking where problems are resolved and ideas are created, we need to put aside technological distractions.

If you find this information useful, you can look here for more on the matter:

 

1.  “HOW TO BUILD YOUR FOCUS – THE SHALLOWS” By Nicholas Carr

 

2. “Transcending The Limits of Our Conceptual Systems” By William Byers

I hope this information enlightens and helps some of you.

Okay, now you can click away! 😉

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