They’re social. They’re mobile. They’re the future.
I appreciate you denouncing the ill effects of “new distracting technology” on our ability to contemplate with sufficient attention span lengths to produce deep thought. Of course, this is all very much reminiscent of philosophers of old who denounced the playhouse over the opera house (see Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees). Your stance really begs the question, “Does everyone in the world want to be critical thinkers?” Inevitably, the answer is an astounding NO. Many people, pejoratively known as “the masses,” (to which I belong, in a socio-economic sense) perhaps do not wish to have anything to do with “critical thinking.” If you served up Dostoyevsky on a golden platter, they’d still politely refuse your enticing offer of “deep contemplative thought.” They’ll turn down your offer of “making connections within human memory” and “expanding human intelligence” and go right back to watching their mindless videos and texting in unintelligible emoticons. We “intellectuals” decry how technology may impede deep, introspective, critical thinking when in reality, only a handful of our world’s plentiful population has historically “enjoyed” engaging in deep thought. In a sense, the wide availability of books online have really democratized learning in terms of any young intellectual person who really wants to read books having access to them. (Having the reading comprehension skills to actually be able to read them is another matter entirely, which you aptly address in your book.) Many people are quite happy in Shallowland and are now happier still because our technologies allows us to conveniently forget the names of the Capital Cities of each state so that we can focus on articulating the merits and demerits of the hottest Idol contestant. Frankly, part of me envies those who can get lost in Shallowland and have a damn good time doing it. Alas, since Shallowland does not have the same dopamine-inducing somatic effect on me, I am relegated to reading books like yours and brooding over the meaning of life.
If something good is also rare, that makes it more precious, not more dispensable.
I agree that the majority will always prefer to stay in Shallowland. But don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The more intellectually toxic the environment, the more Shallowlandians we get.
Living in Shallowland all the time is not something to be envied. It is a horrifying zombie existence. Read, contemplate, brood, and live!
Probably all talking to their grand kids
No, I’m pretty sure they’re sexting.
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