Posted by: kelliroesch | November 19, 2012

Hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest

I can’t read any more. I mean, I am capable; I know HOW to read. It’s the stuff that takes more than 20 minutes to read that loses me and I cannot finish before my mind wanders off somewhere else. According to Nicholas Carr in The Shallows, people like me are the new normal and Internet is at fault, but it may not be a bad thing.

Carr argues that it may be the book that is truly to blame for taking humans away from our natural state, and that we have simply forgotten what our natural state is. Humans used to constantly scan and shift our brains to look for threats. It’s what kept us alive. But with the creation of the book and with that deep concentration on a singular activity, reading became the norm. Thus, Carr states, it is ability to concentrate on one thing that is more unnatural to humans than our constantly flittering minds.

“In the choices we have made, consciously or not, about how we use our computers, we have rejected the intellectual tradition of solitary, single-minded concentration, the ethic that the book bestowed on us ” (Carr 2010).

Carr explains that what we are experiencing is, “in a metaphorical sense, a reversal of the early trajectory of civilization.” We are evolving certainly,  “from being cultivators of personal knowledge to being hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest” (Carr 2010).

Do you personally feel like a cultivator of knowledge or hunter and gatherer of information? Please share.

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