Since Google Making Us Stupid” by Nicholas Carr battles

Since its inception, Google has
become both a blessing and a curse. It grants an unparalleled amount of
knowledge to anyone with an internet connection in a fraction of a second, but
at what cost? Whenever I want the answer to something, I Google it, skim
through an article, and that’s the extent of the effort I put into finding
information. Long gone are the days of having to go to a library and conduct
research on something when you have the answers to every question at your
fingertips. Going in-depth and comprehending what you are reading has become
obsolete, unless you are wanting to improve your mind and understand others
better.

            “Is
Google Making Us Stupid” by Nicholas Carr battles with the conundrum previously
stated. When trying to read a book or article, Carr states, “I get fidgety,
lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m
always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used
to come naturally has become a struggle.” This is how I feel when faced with
the daunting task of reading an article with more than 300 words. Why should I spend
my precious time on analyzing a work when Google exists when I could be
browsing Instagram or Snapchat? Before I didn’t have a smartphone attached to
me, I was what most would consider a bookworm but since receiving an iPhone for
my 12th birthday, the annual number of books I read has been drastically
reduced. Nowadays, I feel somewhat numb to the exorbitant amount of information
heaved on me every second I spend staring at a screen. Carr summarizes this
quite well with, “… as we come to rely on computers to mediate our
understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into
artificial intelligence.”

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            With
the sentiment of reading being irrelevant in today’s culture, the benefits of literature
cannot be lost among our society. “A 2013 study from the New School concludes
that “reading literature improves theory of mind” – “the capacity to identify
and understand others’ subjective states.” As the authors note, theory of mind
is critically linked to empathy, that all-important ability to intuit and experience
the feelings of another.” (Hill, How Reading Fiction Increases Our Capacity for
Empathy) This proves that books can have a positive impact on how we view
others due to the empathy that is experienced while reading. Being glued to
screens for the majority of our day means that having meaningful interactions
with others are trifling. When we are reading we are, for lack of a better word,
forcing ourselves to analyze every word the author writes to fully understand
the story. Hill declares, “Literary fiction… requires of us the same kinds of
interpretive tasks that we undertake when engaging with other people.” It takes
far less effort to watch a television show or movie since you can zone out and
still understand what is taking place, but to read a work of literature is like
engaging in a conversation with the author and requires your full attention.

            The Internet has made us more knowledgeable
in terms of quick one-sided answers; however, as far as being empathetic goes,
we are at an all-time low. Our ease of access to information has made us
reluctant to take the time and analyze the words of others. To counter this, I
think it would be beneficial to take a breath every once in a while, and enjoy
a work of fiction. This would make us more virtuous and further our empathy
towards others because, “… stories change us – often for the better.” (Hill)