The Disappearing Art of ReflectionJuly 30, 2010
Recently, I wrote an essay on “Rethinking the Value of the Internet” and I came to point #4 and realized it opened up a huge can of worms. I said that the Internet can cause us to lose the ability to become reflective. I received a flood of emails and personal responses asking me to go into more detail about this.
A week later, I read about a book written by Nicholas Carr titled, “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains” wherein he laments our lost ability to REFLECT in life any more. I realized I had to read it and digest it in my search to help others become more reflective. There are literally hundreds of pithy quotations from that book, but let me quote just two. Early in the book, he makes this analogy:
“Once I was a scuba diver in a sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”
The Internet, he says, causes us to no longer see the big picture about anything. He puts it this way,
“We don’t see the forest when we search the Web,” he writes. “We don’t even see the trees. We see twigs and leaves.”
He adds that Twitter, Facebook, text messages, emails, television and every other type of media causes us to have permanent Attention Deficit Disorder. He wonders if the increasing incidence of ADD in our society is because the multiplication of media has taken everyone with mild cases and turned us into raging Distractoholics. He is exactly right.
In the next month or so, I will be publishing a series of essays to bring our minds back to the disappearing ability to reflect on anything. In this series I have four purposes:
- To point out the value of reflection
- To note the dangers associated with not reflecting
- To show the obstacles that prevent us from reflection
- To propose solutions to those obstacles
Join with me in this hunt for the elusive “Reflective Life”.