Response to “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”
How do we define intelligence vs. stupidity? Where is the line between wealth and overabundance? It is clear that with the rise of the internet and Google, many of us are unsure. To some, the constant stream of information appears to be rapidly creating a much smarter human race, while to others, it seems to be making a far more ignorant world. In Nicholas Carr’s article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?,” he states that he feels as though he was once “a scuba diver in the sea of words,” but that now he simply “zips along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” This clearly distresses him, and many others who feel the same way. I do understand what Carr is saying here, as I have experienced this myself. Trying to look back on and remember information you read, and then realizing that you can recall very little, is scary as well as frustrating. However, I do not think that the experience needs to be so cut and dry, and I think that this goes for much of Carr’s article.
Carr seems to believe that once our minds are taken over by this lack of attention span, we are doomed to a life of boredom, restlessness, and eventually stupidity. But why not try training ourselves to be both scuba divers and Jet Ski riders? It is true that after getting used to having seemingly limitless information at the tapping of a few keys, it can be difficult to get back into reading and experiencing things that take more time, but it is not impossible. I think that as long as those of us who use the internet on a daily basis remember also to take time to sit down with a paper book, take a long walk, eat slowly, pick up a newspaper, write critically and creatively, build things, and talk to the people physically around us, the brain can be trained to take advantage of both types of experience. Fun, efficiency, and intelligence play roles in both ways of existing, and I believe that if the two can coexist, there will be many benefits.