Shallow is the New Deep

Here is a smart article by Nicholas Carr from this month’s Atlantic Monthly. I cited it in a sermon last Sunday in reference to the fact that people read differently now due to internet use and that we should be aware of this as we plan our personal Bible reading times. This is the quote that strikes me as personally true:

Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle. . .

. . . Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.

Anyways, the article drove me to pick up Maryann Wolf’s book Proust and the Squid: the Story and Science of the Reading Brain. I have been eyeing it for a few months, but the interest reached critical mass with Carr’s article.

One thought on “Shallow is the New Deep

  1. I read that same article, Scott, and think it is very interesting. I note reading/relational differences in my work with youth at church, so many of their relationships are conducted in large part via facebook and text message. (That whole Atlantic Monthly issue was good, BTW.)

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