Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Series on Attention

Earlier in the year I began a series for the Colson Center on ways that new technologies are training our brains not to be attentive in ways necessary for reading. I pointed out that the real challenges brought by the internet are easily overlooked, since it has nothing to do with what actually happens when we are engaged in activities like web-surfing, Facebook or Twitter, but what happens when we are not engaged in these activities. 

Indeed, just as the problems caused by pornography sometimes only become evident when a man tries to have a relationship with a real woman, so the problems caused by social media may only become evident when one actually tries to read a book or engage in a normal conversation.

I also suggest that in a society that values efficiency over depth and productivity over quality, it is becoming increasingly hard to let books work their slow and strange magic on us, to let them change us into richer and deeper people. Indeed, reading soul-enlarging old books becomes one of the chief casualties in this cultural shift to prioritize what is functional over what is beautiful, what is transitory over that which is permanent and what is entertaining over what is enriching. To read my articles on this subject, click on the following links:

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