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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Where Is My Old Brain?

On page 16 of The Shallows, Carr states in the last sentence of his first paragraph that he “missed his old brain” (16). I could not agree more with what Carr is saying here. I can remember back in middle school when there were new Harry Potter books still being released by author J.K. Rowling. I would eagerly wait for the release date of these books and purchase them on the day they would come out, and read them as soon as possible. However, lately I find that reading any type of book, whether it is in my interest level or not, is becoming increasingly difficult. Carr makes reference to the fact that he has been experiencing severe difficulty focusing on any type of reading, because the internet is making everything much faster and efficient. This is exactly how I have been feeling whenever I try to pick up a book, including The Shallows itself. I will read a page, and then by the end of the last sentence have to re-read what I had just read not two minutes ago because in between my mind would drift off to something completely off topic. I miss the ability to stay truly focus on a certain task at hand, even if it is just reading a book, forced or for fun.
 This fact is also becoming increasingly more frightening. After learning about and agreeing with Carr’s view on what the internet has done to him, I worry that the same will fully overcome me and everyone else around me. If that happens, I worry that logical thinking and rational reasoning will become withered and derailed. If that does occur, research and discovery may become withered as well and reduced, because those performing the experiments will attempt to take the easy way out. I know from experience that I find myself trying to take the easy way out of a long-term project, whether it’s using invalid resources such as Wikipedia, or learning about a novel I have to read on Sparknotes. As a result, I have discovered through personal analysis that my motive behind taking short cuts through projects is because I am more concerned about things that aren’t important, such as social media, internet, and television.
The problem that I am faced with today is how to eliminate this problem, how to reverse my brain and get my own brain back. I feel as if I couldn’t last a full day without some means of social media, texting, or internet, let alone a week, month, or a year. Carr’s statement is very bold, but very accurate, because everyone has been influenced by the internet one way or another. The change in technology, especially the discovery of the internet, is changing mankind one day at a time, and I fear one day it will be too late to make a change. What Nicolas Carr is stating couldn’t be closer to the truth, but even knowing the facts of what the internet has done to our brains will not alter them back to their original state. Instead, it will only progressively get worse. 

- Dylan Chisholm

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