You may think you have absolute control over your body, that you can control every aspect over everyday life. After all, it does seem that way. When you want to lift your right arm up, you lift it up. When you want to drop the arm, you drop it; it’s excruciatingly simple. No sweat. You have absolute control. Free will.
However, it’s not the physical mind, but the peripheral mind that is in constant alteration and danger. If you recall, how you thought years ago is tremendously different in comparison to your thinking at present. As a new age enters, we are affected by a new wave of technology and social development. You’re reading a blog! To any Joe of the 20th century, the word ‘blog’ would not register. But you’re reading one. And you’re using Google and probably using Facebook or Twitter, and you’re also probably watching YouTube videos, and searching the web clicking on hyper links.
Here’s a paraphrased section taken from a Wired article written by Nicholas Carr: Gary Small invited six subjects; three were regular web surfers, and three were inexperienced with the internet. Dr Small instructed them to find certain things on the internet (such as vacationing in the Galapagos Islands), and the two groups showed definite differences in brain flow. The group of web surfer had blood flow greater in areas of the brains that solve problems and make decisions. Gary Small then told the inexperienced users to use the net an hour a day. Then extraordinary results subsequently showed up. New brain scans showed that the inexperienced users’ brains now resembled their experienced counterparts’. The brains were rewired. However, Small pointed out that more brain activity is not necessarily better brain activity.
How does a brain work?
Your mind is composed of 10Billion to 100Billion neurons stretched about. I’m not a neuroscientist, but the general knowledge is that once you learn something new or had a thought, a neuron would connect. The first time you skimmed multiplication tables, the neurons’ connections are very weak, but once you hopped out of Junior High, those connections are very formidable. Likewise however, neurotic connections can also die out. Rewiring the brain.
Four weeks before, Victor Quinterro lost his left arm due to a auto incident. He was blindfolded as the the doctor started to prick his nerves with Q tips. Victor was then told to tell the doctor where he felt the poking. The doctor pricked his face. Victor said he felt a tingling in his left thumb. His left arm is nonexistent due to the auto incident. However shortly afterwards, his entire brain was remapped and his nerves on his left arm was gone. He felt nothing when his face was touched afterwards.
Some people develop a more powerful sense of touch after they go blind. Other times, their nerves shift and focus on other parts of their bodies. The brain has the ability to reprogram the body and the mind.
Now to the internet.
It’s kind of hard to imagine the years before the internet. After all, publishing your material have never been so much easier. In fact, reading the news online is a breeze. However, we ‘transfer only a small jumble of drops from different faucets, not a continuous coherent stream.’ In other words, we’re now skipping around sites pressing ctrl-f on wiki instead of looking inside an encyclopedia to find the properties of chocolate. Instead of flipping through a dictionary, we’re simply typing the word up. It’s certainly faster and more efficient.
And this behavior is translated into our lifestyles. Because of our low tolerance for long strands information, our attention spans are getting shorter. We are less capable of focusing. When we set a goal, our minds would be distracted and we’d be doing something else.
A hyper link serves one goal: to get you to another webpage. A hyper link is like a footnote distracting you from the overall flow of the passage. When you click the hyper link, your attention is surrendered to some information that immediately scrambles your thought process. Office workers glance at their inbox 30 to 40 times an hour. And whether you play Farmville or any other time based application, you are giving yourself reasons to go near a screen.
Heavy media multitaskers are found to be more easily distracted, had significantly less control over their memory and were less able to concentrate.
Once we start surfing the net, irrelevancy and distraction becomes more frequent.
We are training our brains to pay attention to crap.
Some might call it addiction, but it’s an alteration of the brain. The glowing screen you are reading this from (Did I just loose some readers?) is slowly turning you into a googling info beggar. We’re starting to crave irrelevancy.
Don’t get me wrong. I think the Web is an excellent source of information. In fact, the ability to skim material and thinking quickly is a highly crucial trait. The Web gives you information, communication and even entertainment. It’s highly accessible, and it’s becoming the centerpiece of our lives.
We are evolving.
If you’re interested for more, read The Shallows by Nicholas Carr. Don’t forget to like this, rate this, and comment below. Did I just persuade you to get tech savvy?