Over the last two hours I’ve made many attempts to write this essay but have been consistently derailed by random thoughts which force me to immediately and thoroughly investigate them using the internet. These adventured through the web require my entire attention and can easily spiral off from the original mission to any number of new ideas or tangents that happen to catch my eye. It takes an moment of awakening for me to realize I’ve been sucked into the artificial vortex and that I must return to my failed attempt of writing an essay. While some of the information I am gaining is useful to the present moment, a large majority of it is off topic, but not entirely useless to me personally. This is to say, that the internet is incredibly distracting at times, but is an incredible tool for obtaining information.
In the book, “The Shallows”, Nicholas Carr provides evidence for how the internet is weakening our ability for deep processing and critical thinking, while simultaneously increasing our visual-spatial awareness and our multitasking skills. The internet appears to rewire our brain to allow for multitasking and quick decision making in contrast to how our brain reads a book which allows us to delve deeply into the reading and possibly also think more deeply as well. There are many studies presented in this book which attest to this idea. While I think that it is true that the digesting information from the internet may be a more superficial in comparison to other forms of learning, I’m still skeptical as to if it weakens one’s ability to think critically in life generally.
The evidence is clear that while using the internet, it can be distracting and difficult to truly engage with in such a way as to allow a deeply critical form of thinking. But this isn’t to say that the information you obtain from the internet can’t be interpreted on a deeper level once the user is no longer on the web. I don’t necessarily agree that the internet weakens our critical thinking as a whole, but it does affect it while one is “plugged in”, so to say. I would argue that the average person thinks more critically today than ever before in human history. With that, I will say that I believe criti...