The Brain of Slaves
As a carpenter, I’m very aware of the risks that materials and labor present. Asbestos, lead, mold, on the one hand; falls, sprains, cuts, on the other. Not surprisingly, as a new media blogger type, I’ve also been concerned about this sort of thing:
“All this information is done in short, quick bursts,” [Tom Kersting, a student assistance coordinator at Indian Hills High School and a psychotherapist in private practice in Ridgewood, N.J.,] said in a telephone interview. “So they have a difficult time, cognitively, nowadays developing critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, because they are so used to quick burst and tweets of information.” …
Kersting said that students’ brains are essentially being rewired to adapt to the way they communicate. In the process, they may lose the ability to relay ideas and interact with people in the way others had done before. If teens stop communicating with their friends and others face to face, they will lose the ability to navigate complex social situations and that could be devastating for them when they are faced with college and job interviews, Kersting said.
Nobody is claiming, I don’t believe, that there aren’t pluses to new ways of doing things, even of thinking — especially given the ways in which human society is reshaping its activities. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t prudent to maintain old habits, practices, and abilities.
We still need plenty of in-person interaction (perhaps at recess!), and it’s a valuable trait to have the capacity to sit down quietly and read a book for hours on end. That blend of personal independence and ability to read others’ non-verbal cues and to convey complicated intellectual and emotional messages blending multiple forms expression, bland as it may seem, may just turn out to be critical to avoiding a state of slavery in the future.