The lure of the LED screen
Posted 06 July 2011 - 07:45 AM
Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:02 AM
Over the past few years I've had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn't going—so far as I can tell—but it's changing. I'm not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I'm reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I'd spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That's rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I'm always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.
Posted 06 July 2011 - 08:48 AM
Posted 06 July 2011 - 09:00 AM
I've begun to notice this recently, too.
Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I'm always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.
The purchase of an up-to-date smartphone seems to have made this worse. The thing vibrates constantly, and I can't wait to get to it to check out what new message has arrived. WHY?. Inevitably, it is precisely the sort of message I've been getting for years on my p.c. But now it seems urgent. Unbearably seductive.
Similarly, I am constantly looking things up on WikiMobile. All a name or title or historical event has to do is pass through my mind, and I''m reaching for the phone. Even things I know perfectly well already.
A case of very late-onset ADHD?
The arts audience in south Florida is sufficiently elderly and civilized that lighted phones not yet a big problem. Requests to shut the phone off usually work Not yet a problem like NYC, where phones do seem to be setting off "a spark to pierce the dark from Battery Park to Washington Heights," to quote Sondheim's Broadway Baby.
Flash-light magnifying glasses have quite a following down here, however. The curtain no sooner rises than people beginning lighting up to check the program. This, despite the fact that they have been holding the program unopened on their laps since they took their seats.
Posted 06 July 2011 - 09:06 AM
I have sympathy with the people who want to check their programs, though. I do look at mine when I sit down in the theater, but sometimes find that my short term memory has purged all casting information the moment that the lights go down...
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