More often than not, I have considered myself extremely privileged to have been born at the time I was born....I mean, think about it, there could have been no other point in History when we could have had such easy access to information. Be it gene bank sequences or the grocery store number, almost every damn thing is just a 'google' away. A lot of us would have paused at least once in the recent past and pondered about how people ever managed to go about life before the advent of the internet...or the mobile phone...or say, the printing press. Seriously, I have always thought I would have the knowledge of a six-year-old if not for the existence of Google.
Yet, truth is, a lot of marvelous findings did take place as long ago as 2000 years or before. I cannot find my way to the other part of the city today without Google maps. Yet, continents were discovered without it centuries back.
I read an article a few days back on the influence of internet on human memory. According to the study's abstract, "When people expect to have future access to information, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to access it." I guess these lines beautifully point to what I had always feared - I am dumbing down.
I definitely am. I find myself engaging in more of skimming through information these days and less of processing them. So prone to this nature have I become that I am starting to resist any activity that actually needs me to pause and engage my mind with focus and concentration; to 'think'. I am instead opting for those activities that would merely allow me to passively engage in a fleeting manner with huge chunks of information. Hence, I do get the satisfaction of doing something while I ain't doing anything; like spending time on Facebook, reading unnecessary mail, reading a lot of blogs, browsing through 'interesting' articles online etc. - not that these are by nature, useless activities...yet choosing them continuously over activities that require active learning and thinking could render them so.
It is a hurried existence. I walk fast, I eat fast, I read fast and am averse to slowing down. And I am beginning to feel I am not the only one.