Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Risks of Immersing in Our Digital World

For those of you like me who are not good at multi-tasking, nor working in the midst of a lot of noiseand distractions, take comfort in this interview of the author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age.

Of particular interest to artists, I would think, would be this:

Our society right now is filled with lovely distractions — we have so much portable escapism and mediated fantasy — but that's just one issue. The other is interruption — multitasking, the fragmentation of thought and time....This degree of interruption is correlated with stress and frustration and lowered creativity. That makes sense. When you're scattered and diffuse, you're less creative. When your times of reflection are always punctured, it's hard to go deeply into problem-solving, into relating, into thinking.

The interview ends with this observation from the author (Maggie Jackson):

Dark ages are times of forgetting, when the advancements of the past are underutilized. If we forget how to use our powers of deep focus, we'll depend more on black-and-white thinking, on surface ideas, on surface relationships. That breeds a tremendous potential for tyranny and misunderstanding. The possibility of an attention-deficient future society is very sobering.


Sheila said...

Very interesting interview. I agree that we are a distracted society. I have a difficult time with all the distractions. I spend a good bit of time with no radio or TV on for "background noise" while I work and knit. It is easier to think and create.

RHONDA said...

Deep and sobering thoughts indeed. I find it interesting that the growth of Western society's interest in meditation has come at a time when the world of distraction is increasing the intensity of its intrusion into daily lives.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Rhonda, I hadn't made the connection to the rise in interest of meditation and other "spirituality" movements. Good point.

Sheila, I commend you for working in silence. Part of my morning routine is to eat my breakfast, drink my coffee and read a bit while the house is quiet. But once I get dressed and going on my day, I usually don't want total quiet and the radio comes on for background. If I'm doing something that doesn't take much thought, sometimes I'll crank up the music for motivation, to get me moving. But if I'm thinking through something or doing figures, the outside noise needs to be very background or non-existent.

Nora said...

There are times when I don't have "noise." I don't have music at the computer and never when I'm driving. I never learned to drive until I was 37 and when I'm driving I don't do ANYTHING else.
I didn't read the whole article but remember hearing that the IQ's of people who were doing a lot of multi-tasking actually went down.
I do knit in front of the Tv. Part of that is a defense against against going to sleep as soon as I sit down.

quiltcrazygal said...

Lots to think about. I have wondered where my creative spirit has been...I now realize the multitasking currently at work has distracted my creativity. I really need some time away to clear my thoughts and feel some new inspiration. Thank you for sharing. Your quilt is beautiful, I have enjoyed watching it come together. Jenna Louise

The Idaho Beauty said...

Thanks Jenna Louise. It's always fun for me to show my progress and get feedback. I hope you find a way to get a break from the work stress and get back to creating. My last two jobs in the "real" world had me multitasking myself into a corner and bombarded me with a lot of noise as well. I'd come home exhausted every night and very sensitive to loud noises. Gosh that was 15 years ago and I'm just now getting better about noise in the background.