Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Distracted by Maggie Jackson

Jackson wonders if we are heading into the next dark ages. 
We are a distracted people.  We no longer focus on important issues for great lengths of time.  The speeches and sermons of generations ago were frequently hours long.  Now we fidget after twenty minutes. 
Even our reading habits have changed.  We now skim rather than digest the printed word.  "We read to glean and to get the neatly packaged answer, not to be changed."  (171) 
Jackson spends some time on the myth of multi-tasking.  There is really no such thing as the brain loses focus momentarily as it transitions from one task to another.  She also covers the impact of social web sites on our youth.  They are no longer interested in what our ancestors did but are obsessed with what their friends are doing this moment.
The result of our distracted life style is a lack of critical thinking.  We accept the political sound bite without investigating it.  Our discipline of attention has been so eroded we no longer think seriously and deeply about the issues before us.
Although Jackson's book ends weekly, it is certainly worth reading.  It is a call to return to the discipline of focused attention and deep thinking.
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