Move over, Oprah. From now until the end of the year, I will be writing about my favorite things from the year 2010.
This past summer, the New York Times ran a series called “Your Brain on Computers” that sought to identify how our ubiquitous digital devices are affecting our brains. The resulting stories indicate that technology is turning us into a society of impatient and distracted beings.
Like the articles suggest, our brains rarely have time to relax anymore as we seek to fill every second of every day with stimulus.
Here’s a bite from one of the articles:
When people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.
As I have mentioned before, I suffer from low-grade anxiety. It’s something that rears its ugly head at random intervals. But lately I have noticed that it seems to be exacerbated by the myriad technology options I have at my disposal. Chalk it up to a reliance on technology (or two kids running around the house) or whatever. But it’s difficult to sit down and focus on a book, for instance, without my mind jumping from point A to point D, reminding me of everything that needs to be done.
Scientists are now starting to understand that a constant deluge of data can cause us to be unable to live in the moment, which, depending on your beliefs, is a key ability for living a balanced life. Staying tethered to your electronics, no matter how intoxicating it seems, can lead to forgetfulness and severe boredom when there is nothing to capture our attention.
Of course, boredom, in this case, can be good for your brain. A lack of interruptions can allow for more creativity. But those thoughts are zapped when you hear the ding that indicates a new e-mail.
By no means am I anti-technology. But the advances being made in this area give rise to the thought that maybe, just maybe, we are becoming too reliant on artificial stimulation.
It is my hope that as this science advances, we will learn more about how much technology is bad for us, and what we can do about it.
On that premise alone, this is one of my favorite things from 2010.