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The Internet will fry your brain. Sure.

BrainScanHomerSimpsonThe Boston Globe has a good article/ book review on the lat­est quasi-luddite attack on the Inter­net (an attack in the name of brain sci­ence no less, and with cool brain scans). The book in ques­tion: “The Shal­lows: What the Inter­net Is Doing to Our Brains.”

The Inter­net ate my brain (Boston Globe)
Nicholas Carr says that our online lifestyle threat­ens to make us dumber. But resis­tance may not be futile

The reporter, Wes Ander­son, adds the proper per­spec­tive, in my view, by end­ing the arti­cle with:

Books and the Inter­net, lit­er­ary cul­ture and dig­i­tal cul­ture have coex­isted for many years. It may be that an engaged intel­lec­tual life will now require a sort of hybrid exis­tence — and a hybrid mind that can adapt and sur­vive by the choices one makes. It may require a new kind of self-discipline, a willed and prac­ticed abil­ity to focus, in a pur­pose­ful and almost med­i­ta­tive sense — to step away from the net­work and seek still­ness, immersion.”

Now, you can call this hybrid mind shal­low. I call it all my only hope.”

Wes: you’re quite right. Not only that, but the Internet-enabled “weaponry to resist”,  what we pre­fer to call a toolkit to mon­i­tor and enhance cognition/ brain fit­ness in ways we couldn’t do before, is grow­ing by the day. We’ll just need to learn to use it prop­erly –and the Inter­net as a whole, to be sure-, to enhance our lives. My bet is: we will.

Nicholas Carr does a great job high­light­ing the impli­ca­tions of life­long neu­ro­plas­tic­ity –every­thing we do/think/feel has a phys­i­cal and func­tional impact on our brains, for bet­ter or for worse-, but misiden­ti­fies  our brains most likely enemy (watch­ing TV? chronic stress?), and fails to con­sider that we tend to learn how to ride bikes by rid­ing bikes.

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