In the few days since my essay on the Internet’s effects on cognition appeared in The Atlantic, I’ve been flooded with emails and blog posts from people saying that my struggles with deep reading and concentration mirror their own experiences. “I found the first couple of pages almost eerie in how well they described my own feelings,” wrote a typical correspondent today. Uber-blogger Andrew Sullivan said in a post a short while ago that my story “strikes close to home.”
I feel an odd mix of emotions. I’m of course gratified to see further evidence confirming my hypothesis, but it’s a melancholy sense of gratification since the hypothesis is (to me, anyway) such an unhappy one. There should be a word to describe the feeling of finding support for one’s gloomy idea.