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“The Net’s interactivity gives us powerful new tools for finding information, expressing ourselves, and conversing with others. It also turns us into lab rats constantly pressing levers to get tiny pellets of social or intellectual nourishment.”
Nicholas G. Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“We become, neurologically, what we think."(33)”
Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”
Nicholas G. Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“In the quiet spaces opened up by the prolonged, undistracted reading of a book, people made their own associations, drew their own inferences and analogies, fostered their own ideas. They thought deeply as they read deeply.”
Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“Culture is sustained in our synapses...It's more than what can be reduced to binary code and uploaded onto the Net. To remain vital, culture must be renewed in the minds of the members of every generation. Outsource memory, and culture withers.”
Nicholas G. Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“[Patricia Greenfield] concluded that “every medium develops some cognitive skills at the expense of others.” Our growing use of the Net and other screen-based technologies has led to the “widespread and sophisticated development of visual-spatial skills.” We can, for example, rotate objects in our minds better than we used to be able to. But our “new strengths in visual-spatial intelligence” go hand in hand with a weakening of our capacities for the kind of “deep processing” that underpins “mindful knowledge acquisition, inductive analysis, critical thinking, imagination, and reflection.”
Nicholas G. Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“We don’t constrain our mental powers when we store new long-term memories. We strengthen them. With each expansion of our memory comes an enlargement of our intelligence. The Web provides a convenient and compelling supplement to personal memory - but when we start using the Web as a substitute for personal memory, by bypassing the inner processes of consolidation, we risk emptying our minds of their riches.”
Nicholas G. Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“The bond between book reader and book writer has always been a tightly symbiotic one, a means of intellectual and artistic cross-fertilization. The words of the writer act as a catalyst in the mind of the reader, inspiriting new insights, associations, and perceptions, sometimes even epiphanies. And the very existence of the attentive, critical reader provides the spur for the writer’s work. It gives the author confidence to explore new forms of expression, to blaze difficult and demanding paths of thought, to venture into uncharted and sometimes hazardous territory. “All great men have written proudly, nor cared to explain,” said Emerson. “They knew that the intelligent reader would come at last, and would thank them.”
Nicholas Carr, What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“We want to be interrupted, because each interruption brings us a valuable piece of information. To turn off these alerts is to risk feeling out of touch, or even socially isolated.”
Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“Even the earliest silent readers recognized the striking change in their consciousness that took place as they immersed themselves in the pages of a book. The medieval bishop Isaac of Syria described how, whenever he read to himself, “as in a dream, I enter a state when my sense and thoughts are concentrated. Then, when with prolonging of this silence the turmoil of my memories is stilled in my heart, ceaseless waves of joy are sent me by inner thoughts, beyond expectation suddenly arising to delight my heart.” Reading a book was a meditative act, but it didn’t involve a clearing of the mind. It involved a filling, or replenishing, or the mind. Readers disengaged their attention from the outward flow of passing stimuli in order to engage it more deeply with an inward flow of words, ideas, and emotions. That was—and is—the essence of the unique mental process of deep reading.”
Nicholas Carr, What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“You can take a book to the beach without worrying about sand getting in its works. You can take it to bed without being nervous about it falling to the floor should you nod off. You can spill coffee on it. You can sit on it. You can put it down on a table, open to the page you’re reading, and when you pick it up a few days later it will still be exactly as you left it. You never have to be concerned about plugging a book into an outlet or having its battery die.”
Nicholas G. Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
tags: books
“The internet, as its proponents rightly remind us, makes for variety and convenience; it does not force anything upon you. Only it turns out it doesn’t feel like that at all. We don’t feel as if we had freely chosen our online practices. We feel instead that they are habits we have helplessly picked up or that history has enforced, that we are not distributing our attention as we intend or even like to”
Nicholas G. Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“The faster we surf across the surface of the Web—the more links we click and pages we view—the more opportunities Google gains to collect information about us and to feed us advertisements. Its advertising system, moreover, is explicitly designed to figure out which messages are most likely to grab our attention and then to place those messages in our field of view. Every click we make on the Web marks a break in our concentration, a bottom-up disruption of our attention—and it’s in Google’s economic interest to make sure we click as often as possible.”
Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“The Web provides a convenient and compelling supplement to personal memory, but when we start using the Web as a substitute for personal memory, bypassing the inner processes of consolidation, we risk emptying our minds of their riches.”
Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“There is no economic law that says that everyone, or even most people, automatically benefit from technological progress.”
Nicholas Carr, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us
“When a printed book—whether a recently published scholarly history or a two-hundred-year-old Victorian novel—is transferred to an electronic device connected to the Internet, it turns into something very like a Web site. Its words become wrapped in all the distractions of the networked computer. Its links and other digital enhancements propel the reader hither and yon. It loses what the late John Updike called its “edges” and dissolves into the vast, rolling waters of the Net. The linearity of the printed book is shattered, along with the calm attentiveness it encourages in the reader.”
Nicholas Carr, What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“Once I was a scuba diver in a sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”
Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
“To remain vital, culture must be renewed in the minds of the members of every generation. Outsource memory, and culture withers.”
Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains
“Experiments show that just as the brain can build new or stronger circuits through physical or mental practice, those circuits can weaken or dissolve with neglect.”
Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“the mind is not sealed in the skull but extends throughout the body. We think not only with our brain but also with our eyes and ears, nose and mouth, limbs and torso. And when we use tools to extend our grasp, we think with them as well. “Thinking, or knowledge-getting, is far from being the armchair thing it is often supposed to be,” wrote the American philosopher and social reformer John Dewey in 1916. “Hands and feet, apparatus and appliances of all kinds are as much a part of it as changes in the brain.”51 To act is to think, and to think is to act.”
Nicholas Carr, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us
“Another experiment, conducted by Pascual-Leone when he was a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, provides even more remarkable evidence of the way our patterns of thought affect the anatomy of our brains. Pascual-Leone recruited people who had no experience playing a piano, and he taught them how to play a simple melody consisting of a short series of notes. He then split the participants into two groups. He had the members of one group practice the melody on a keyboard for two hours a day over the next five days. he had the members of the other group sit in front of a keyboard for the same amount of time but only imagine playing the song--without ever touching the keys. Using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, Pascual-Leone mapped the brain activity of all the participants before, during, and after the test. he found that the people who had only imagined playing the notes exhibited precisely the same changes in their brains as those who had actually pressed the keys. Their brains had changed in response to actions that took place purely in their imaginations--in response, that is, to their thoughts. Descartes may have been wrong about dualism, but he appears to have been correct in believing that our thoughts can exert a physical influence on, or at least cause a physical reaction in, our brains. We become, neurologically, what we think. (p33)”
Nicholas Carr
“research continues to show that people who read linear text comprehend more, remember more, and learn more than those who read text peppered with links.”
Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“media aren’t just channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”
Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“In a talk at a recent Phi Beta Kappa meeting, Duke University professor Katherine Hayles confessed, “I can’t get my students to read whole books anymore.”10 Hayles teaches English; the students she’s talking about are students of literature.”
Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“Technology isn’t what makes us “post-human” or “transhuman,” as some writers and scholars have recently suggested. It’s what makes us human. Technology is in our nature. Through our tools we give our dreams form. We bring them into the world. The practicality of technology may distinguish it from art, but both spring from a similar, distinctly human yearning.”
Nicholas Carr, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us
“lawyer and technology writer Richard Koman, argued that Google “has become a true believer in its own goodness, a belief which justifies its own set of rules regarding corporate ethics, anti-competition, customer service and its place in society.”
Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“Even though the World Wide Web has made hypertext commonplace, indeed ubiquitous, research continues to show that people who read linear text comprehend more, remember more, and learn more than those who read text peppered with links.”
Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“our conventional response to all media, namely that it is how they are used that counts, is the numb stance of the technological idiot,” he wrote. The content of the medium is just “the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind.” P 4”
Nicholas Carr, What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“The more a sufferer concentrates on his symptoms, the deeper those symptoms are etched into his neural circuits. In the worst cases, the mind essentially trains itself to be sick. Many addictions, too, are reinforced by the strengthening of plastic pathways to the brain. Even very small doses of addictive drugs can dramatically alter the flow of neurotransmitters in a person’s synapses, resulting in long-lasting alterations in brain circuitry and function. In some cases, the buildup of certain kinds of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, a pleasure-producing cousin to adrenaline, seems to actually trigger the turning on or off particular genes, bringing even stronger cravings for the drug. The vital path turns deadly.”
Nicholas Carr, What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
“The ocean extends an invitation to the swimmer that it withholds from the person who has never learned to swim. With every skill we learn, the world reshapes itself to reveal greater possibilities.”
Nicholas Carr, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us

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Nicholas Carr
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