The opposite of distraction, of course, is attention. But wait. It’s impossible to be fully focused and attentive at all times, everywhere.
True thinking is done in the space between distraction and attention, that Seussical-world of our own imagination.
In a follow-up to posts on engagement and intelligence, this classic Atlantic article sums up the conflict.
“In Google’s world, the world we enter when we go online, there’s little place for the fuzziness of contemplation.
“The kind of deep reading that a sequence of printed pages promotes is valuable not just for the knowledge we acquire from the author’s words but for the intellectual vibrations those words set off within our own minds.”
Negatives include those distractions, the attention-sappers, the article-interrupters. Hyperlinks pull you to more information and ads don’t sit politely on the page with a tear-out cologne strip, but instead blink and flash and move and freeze your screen until the 30-second movie is finished.
We risk morphing into the dreaded “pancake people,” a species with a breadth of knowledge quite wide but disturbingly shallow.
“There is a war going on for your mind. / If you are thinking, you are winning.”