Last semester, my Italian professor told our class that we should all read at least one long classic novel each year. At first I thought, “Who, as an average college student, has the time for that?” After all, many of us are involved in an array of campus clubs and activities that take up nearly as much time as all of our classes. In fact, even I, who has enjoyed reading my entire life, didn’t think that this was a possible task, at least during a hectic school year.
Then I thought about it for a little while. Maybe reading a long classic novel each year is not only beneficial, but extremely important. In fact, with the advancement of technology, our attention spans are greatly decreasing. Rather than reading thought-provoking articles online (or in print), truly grasping an understanding of what’s going on in the world around us, we barely glance over 140-character tweets, learning close to nothing. In fact, getting through a long article, let alone a long novel, has grown increasingly difficult for our generation.
Taking this into consideration, I think it’s necessary for us to all take a step back from technology. Thanks to autocorrect, people no longer know how to spell correctly. Thanks to Google, people no longer remember what they’re researching. And thanks to texts and emails, people no longer appreciate in-person conversations.
Because of all these technological innovations, people are quickly losing their creativity. When I was a kid, I could spend hours playing “house,” writing and acting out plays, using what was called an imagination. These days, it’s much different. In fact, the kids that I babysit literally can’t spend more than a half -hour away from their iPad or DS. I remember getting so excited when my mom would read me a book when I was younger, but as soon as I suggest that idea to the six-year-old I babysit, she screams “No!” and turns immediately to her computer.
According to an article in Atlantic Magazine, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” the human brain still develops and changes in the adult years, and because of the Internet, millions of minds are altering all around the world. Worldwide, innovative thoughts are becoming a rarity. The same concepts shared on common websites are what people know, learn and spread — new ideas are not frequently generated.
Considering how much our thinking processes have changed in the past decade, it is difficult to imagine where technology will take us in the next 10 years, or even 50. “Learning” will take place at home, social connections will dwindle and creativity will have vanished. The human brain is capable of things that the modern computer can’t quite handle, yet as computers advance, our brains are headed in the opposite direction.
The human population is headed toward a place where thinking isn’t a necessity, but more of an annoyance. Children no longer play “house” or even use their imaginations at all, because sadly, they no longer have to. We’re headed toward a place that revolves around technology and our brains are quickly evolving from intricate thinkers to mere controllers of technology.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to take the opportunity to rely on your brain for once, rather than technology. Spend a day reading a novel. In fact, skip out on the Internet all together. See where your mind takes you.