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  • So you are reading an article online when you get an instant message with a link to a funny photo, which of course you have to share.


  • And now you are reading your Facebook News Wall, which sends you to a video of a panda bear attacking a kid.


  • And now you are reading Wikipedia to learn everything you can about the violent behavior of panda bears.


  • And this is what 3 minutes on the internet can be like.


  • We live like this all the time, and it has to have some kind of effect on us.


  • "The net is making us more superficial as thinkers."


  • That is Nicholas Carr. He is the author of, "The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains."


  • To understand this whole thing better we need to go way back in time, to say, like, the prehistoric age.


  • "You wanted to know everything was going on around you because the more you knew about your surroundings the less likely you were to get attacked by a predator.


  • And there's even evidence that our brains release some dopamine - a pleasure-producing neurotransmitter chemical - to reward us for seeking out and finding new information."

    「有證據顯示我們的大腦會釋放一種多巴胺 - 它是一種引導快樂情緒的神經傳導化學物質 - 來獎勵我們摸索新事物。」

  • So, getting distracted felt good and helped us stay alive. But the problem is that nowadays, predators aren't much of an issue, but we still have the same brains.


  • And also, there's the internet, which is...


  • "It's an incredibly information rich environment, uh, that the 'net creates for us.


  • And that's why we use it so much. I mean, sounds, pictures, words, texts.


  • And what this tends to do is promote a sort of compulsive behavior in which we are constantly checking your smart phone.


  • Constantly glancing at our email inbox. We're kind of living in this perpetual state of distraction and interruption."


  • Which is dangerous because...


  • "That mode of thinking crowds out the more contemplative calmer modes of thinking."


  • And that focused, calm thinking is actually how we learn. It's a process called "memory consolidation".


  • "And that means the transfer of information from our short term working memory, to our long term memory.


  • And it's through moving information from your working memory to your long term memory that you create connections between that information and everything else you know."


  • So you've got this awesome, life changing piece of information in your short term memory, but then you hear that email ding, and "poof", there it goes.


  • That email takes its place, and you never get a chance to learn anything, all because of one distraction.

    被那封 e-mail 取而代之了,這樣一來你永遠沒有機會學到新事物,就是因為分心。

  • "So attention is the key. And if we lose control of our attention, or are constantly dividing our attention, uh, then we don't really enjoy that consolidation process."


  • But I can hear it now, someone is out there saying, "Uh, what does learning matter if all of the information in the world is just a Google search away?" Well...


  • "Um, that is is kind of short-changing our, our intellects.


  • If that's the way you're using your mind, just kind of searching very quickly and finding information and then forgetting it very quickly, you're never building knowledge.


  • You're simply, you're, you're kind of thinking like a computer."


  • Which means that our very humanity is at stake.


  • And it would be a shame if we all got assimilated, because, well, humanity is pretty neat.


  • "I really believe that if you look at the great monuments of culture, they come from people who are able to pay attention, who control their mind.


  • That's what allows us to think in the highest terms and think conceptually, think critically, uh, think in some very creative ways.


  • And it's this kind of thinking that's at risk: being eroded one cute cat video at a time.


  • Don't get us wrong: The internet is good for lots of things, and it should be celebrated.


  • But the best thing we can do for our minds is to find some time every day to unplug, calm down, and focus on one thing at a time.


  • Your email -- and those cats -- will be here when you get back.

    等你回來之後,你的 e-mail 還有那些可愛貓咪都不會不見。

So you are reading an article online when you get an instant message with a link to a funny photo, which of course you have to share.


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