I thought the quotation included at the end of Carr’s article from the playwright Richard Foreman was interesting, the idea that if we lose the ability to read and acquire knowledge we will also lose our “inner repertory of dense cultural inheritance,”. Cultural inheritance, I think, can apply as much to ways in which we acquire knowledge as ways in which we produce the art that becomes part of our culture. A lot of the information in the article rang true for me-not because I’m sure search engines and other sites and are somehow intercepting my ability to concentrate, but because I am someone who inherently does not like to read. I would rather just go make something.
I listened to a radio program recently that discusses the impact of new forms of distraction on creativity and goal-setting behavior.
The program puts forward the idea that because the Internet becomes a way for us to be easily distracted while reading, it disallows the natural capacity for our minds to wander. So, someone who might be bored while reading and inclined to daydream, or someone who might be staring out the window on the bus trip home no longer just “thinks”. Apps on smartphones (instagram, facebook, pinterest etc) allow our brains to constantly be engaged with something. I find that if I am writing in a word document, I am inclined to research terms and ideas impulsively to make sure that I am getting my ideas “right”. Even in poems etc. The only time I (honestly) feel like I am working to the full extent of my creativity capacity I am working on paper, in a medium that involves mostly drawing. I wonder if the impact of new forms of distraction might have on future generations. I suppose if people are losing the capacity to be creative then they are already predisposed to the kind of automated, “flattened” thinking Carr is afraid of.