Periodical Essay Story

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BEN SHATTUCK I pushed through the crowd, towards the music.

The smell of soap, beer, and smoke filled the room.

They typically read no more than one or two pages of an article or book before they would “bounce” out to another site.

Sometimes they’d save a long article, but there’s no evidence that they ever went back and actually read it.

They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought.

And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. Bowman, having nearly been sent to a deep-space death by the malfunctioning machine, is calmly, coldly disconnecting the memory circuits that control its artificial “ brain. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do.(Unlike footnotes, to which they’re sometimes likened, hyperlinks don’t merely point to related works; they propel you toward them.)For me, as for others, the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind.The advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many, and they’ve been widely described and duly applauded.“I was a lit major in college, and used to be [a] voracious book reader,” he wrote. ” He speculates on the answer: “What if I do all my reading on the web not so much because the way I read has changed, i.e.I’m just seeking convenience, but because the way I THINK has changed?“We are not only what we read,” says Maryanne Wolf, a developmental psychologist at Tufts University and the author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.“We are how we read.” Wolf worries that the style of reading promoted by the Net, a style that puts “efficiency” and “immediacy” above all else, may be weakening our capacity for the kind of deep reading that emerged when an earlier technology, the printing press, made long and complex works of prose commonplace.“The perfect recall of silicon memory,” Wired’s Clive Thompson has written, “can be an enormous boon to thinking.” But that boon comes at a price.As the media theorist Marshall Mc Luhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information.

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