In the beautifully conceived and executed “How Books Help Us Stop Living in the Shallows” in Thrive, Arianna Huffington takes the time to tell us how the electronic age is rewiring our brains: and not in a good way.
Huffington writes that our “new way of taking in information is driving our inability to focus and reflect deeply because it’s also altering the underlying architecture in our brains.“ Asa result, as a culture, we’re reading fewer books. And that only makes the situation worse. Writes Huffington:
Deep reading is what allows us to step into the lives and experiences of others, nurturing and broadening our sense of empathy — something in short supply these days. As Joyce Carol Oates put it, “reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”
Though some of the facts Huffington has assembled here can lead us to despair, fortunately she offers solutions and hope, as well. And while her answer is more nuanced and complex than “read a book,” that’s a pretty good starting point.
“The answer to having our attention stolen is to steal it back,” writes Huffington. Yes. There’s also that.
Huffington’s thoughtful piece is worth savoring and bookmarking to come back to. You can find it here.