We are losing the ability to think deep thoughts. So says an article posted today at the Atlantic web site. The author explains:
Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy…. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do.
1) It’s a real problem. Super article.
2) We’re like college kids who for the first time are able to drink as much as we want and get carried away with it. We’ll add the discipline needed as we become aware of the dangers.
3) The article talks about how Nietzsche came to write in epigrams after switching from pen and paper to the typewriter. Nietzsche’s epigrams made him famous. The quick-hit Internet stuff has added a dimension to the way humans process information. We are learning to perceive things in new ways, to see connections we didn’t see before and to communicate with punch.
4) We are so impressed by the smorgasbord of information suddenly available to us that we have failed to take advantage of the true breakthrough we have achieved. It’s putting the mass of knowledge together in new ways that provides the biggest payoff. Here’s a Three-Part Learning-From-the-Internet Rule:
- Spend one hour picking up on the quick hit stuff going in seven directions fast
- Spend one hour focusing in on the best thing you found searching through the quick hits
- Spend one hour writing up your own thoughts on the implications of the deep piece, forcing yourself to interact with the material.
5) Discipline is so out of fashion and so liberating. There’s no meal as enjoyable as the one you have after skipping a meal. Our new machines possess great power. We tap into some of that power when we learn how to turn them on. We tap into more of it when we learn how to turn them off. The greatest truths are often paradoxes.
Rob Bennett created The Investment Strategy Tester.