I have just read Nicholas Carr's Atlantic Monthly article "Is Google Making Us Stupid?"
Actually, I skimmed it.
But his thesis is a very worrying one. (As many of his theses are.)
He fears that his constant Googling and other triflings on the web are altering the way his brain functions.
He is unable to read anything of length. Like a thrice-married ogler in a bar, he feels his eyes are constantly skimming salient facts rather than mellifluous prose. His friends have given up hope of ever reading "War and Peace."
I want to save Nicholas Carr. He writes interesting books. Unlike "War and Peace", which is nothing more than the Desperate Housewives of its time, forty-two episodes shoved into the only medium at Tolstoy's disposal.
I have therefore created a ten-step program, which, I feel, will help Nicholas and others who are concerned that Messrs. Brin and Page are trying to turn them into robots (which, of course, they are).
1. Accept that short can be good. Length isn't everything. Try watching "The Last Emperor" on fast-forward, for example. You miss nothing. There is an arrogance inherent in those who think that if they go on for long enough, you will be moved. The general term for this sort of thing is marriage. Or, in the 1960s, IBM.
2. Make your own judgments. Just because your teachers, your professors and your unattainable objects of desire told you that certain literary works, TV shows and even jokes were the ones to read, watch and know doesn't make it so. YOU decide what you think is funny, interesting and stimulating. It may be JK Rowling (although, man, does she go on sometimes). It may be the collected speeches and hairdressing tips of Silvio Berlusconi. If it works for you, it works for your brain. And that is a good thing.
3.Choose your friends carefully. If you have friends who torture themselves about their inability to read "War and Peace", they may not be the right people to be seen with. If you internalize their torture, it will become your torture. Consider spending more time with happy, optimistic people who are sure of themselves. Yoga instructors, American Idol producers and winery owners are often blessed with this life attitude. Please avoid all psychologists, comedians and Green Party activists.
4. Spend a day each week away from the web. As with every relationship, total dependence can lead to an awkward and sometimes dangerous power structure. It is possible that you feel your brain is working differently because of this type of relationship. Those Googlers are into domination. Show them who's really wearing the leather basque. Stroke an encyclopedia with the very tips of your fingers. (Oh, there must be one in your library at home.) Be seen in public with a book you've always wanted to read. Even if it's Jane Austen or Candace Bushnell. Nuzzle up to your Kindle. Preferably without steaming up the screen.
5. Love yourself. The minute you feel excessive Googling is making you more stupid, and therefore less lovable, step away from your laptop. Do one of those things that says "I Love Me": Chew someone else out. Buy yourself an Armani suit. Or just lie naked in the sunshine, extending your healthy brownness to all parts of you. Yes, especially your brain. Science says the brain needs rays of light, especially those not emanating from a laptop.
You see, now you have everything you need to protect and enhance your intelligence in the modern world and keep those machines at bay. Always remember, in the movies the machines never win. And the movies always tell us the truth.
The Ten-Step Program To Save Nicholas Carr's Brain. It only has five steps. What could be easier and more brain-stimulating than that?