Reading literature more than just a dying habit. It’s a modern dilemma that will prove to be consequential. We are living in a time where everyone wants to be read, but no one wants to read. This is due to society’s progressions into technological innovations. The human mind has altered into a reality still quite new to us.
We receive information at a faster rate than our ancestors did. Knowledge is screened to us in an instant and repeatedly replaced with even more knowledge. The way we access facts and details may make some think we’re getting smarter.
However, this thought process (in my opinion) is all too new and still needs research. There’s the obvious notion that if you read books, you’ll be a smarter person. I’m curious as to if not reading is really making us dumber. Not as individuals, but as a whole society.
Learning at New Speeds
If we look into history, we can see how our world has developed into the present. In 3200 BC writing was born. The world had found an art form most suitable for documenting human consciousness. Translating our thoughts into a neatly organized expression.
Since then, everything and anything has been recorded through writing. This creates, what feels, like an endless source of knowledge. With the advent of the internet, all these resources can be learned instantaneously.
With that, we’d figure more people would want to discover information. Yet, quite the opposite has happened.
As society progresses into this technological era, people are becoming disinterested in what’s available. This is because we can access facts and details at a much quicker rate. Therefore, we like to learn at a quicker rate.
The Reason for Literature’s Decline
Knowing we want to learn at these quicker speeds is proof to why literature is a dying habit. Literature requires a mental attention dissimilar to our internet habits. A novel is a dedication, whether big or small. That’s what makes some books we read so rewarding. Yet, people are avoiding this sort of dedication.
With all knowledge lingering at the edge of our fingertips, the internet has become the greatest market of information. However, we find that we’re not willing to put too much dedication into this information. This is because our psychology is changing.
In a study done by Science Magazine, college students were tested on how much their memories could sustain. The study had shown that frequent internet users are twice as active in terms of short-term memory.
According to the study, using Google is diminishing our long-term memory. In order for the brain to properly process information, it needs to facilitate critical thinking.
When we rely on Google, we’re getting anything but that critical thinking. Instead, we’re growing accustomed to not having to put much thought into the information we’re accessing.
It makes sense when you witness a college student writing an essay. Google becomes their library. With the web browser being accessible on a number of devices, an essay can be written up with little thought.
The Danger of Quick Information
Relying on Google is relying on our short-term memory. Relying on literature is giving our long-term memory a chance. That chance is to understand what we’re learning and grow as individuals with new knowledge.
In a survey done by the security firm Kaspersky Lab, six thousand people were questioned on their ability to remember answers. The majority of those tested had forgotten the information given and went to Google. Some flat out gave up, assuming the answers could be found somewhere on the internet.
The term Digital Amnesia has been coined for this kind of behavior. Kaspersky Lab’s study is a solid example of how our psychologies are changing with technology. And why literature is becoming less and less popular.
We don’t want to take the time to learn. We want everything quickly placed before our eyes. We are risking ourselves as individuals through this short-term thinking.
When this notion is directed towards us, we get a sense that science is trying to tell us we’re stupid. Yet, when it’s directed towards a society, it becomes a little more complicated. If everyone is relying on Google for information, does that really make us all stupid?
If a society as a whole is following in the same footsteps, then what I’ve just discussed is nothing that’s going to change. Short-term memories will guide the future and long-term memories will gradually be forgotten.
The reason I wrote this article is because I’m an aspiring writer. As I attempt to make a career out of what was once just a habit, I worry over two things. The amount of competition in this field and the lack of readers.
As mentioned, everyone wants to be read, but nobody wants to read.