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Google Is Rotting Our Brains

Hey, look, an intellectual who thinks the masses are just lazy.

As popular wisdom would have it, the internet has given us all the attention span of a gnat. If you can’t say it in 1̶4̶0̶ 280 characters, no one will read it. Here’s Popova again:

The reason we’re so increasingly intolerant of long articles and why we skim them, why we skip forward even in a short video that reduces a 300-page book into a three-minute animation — even in that we skip forward — is that we’ve been infected with this kind of pathological impatience that makes us want to have the knowledge but not do the work of claiming it.

Laziness strikes again. We sad denizens of the 21st century simply lack the moral fortitude to do the hard work of understanding.

And where do we find such character?

Right now, I rarely read the internet at all. I spend most of my days buried in book piles and letters and diaries and old philosophy books and what not.

The brave few, armed with old musty books, taking up a cultural stewardship that has been all but abandoned in favor of chasing listicles. Popova calls this a generational reparenting that focuses on “caring for these bygone thinkers, while at the same time imbuing the present generation with their hand-me-down wisdom and their most enduring ideas.”

Or, as an equally deep thinker of my generation put the point:

Been around the world and found

That only stupid people are breeding.

The cretins cloning and feeding.

And I don't even own a TV.

The confidence that we know what others need even when they themselves do not is an ever-present siren song for scholars.

Generational reparenting rolls from the tongue, a lovely turn of phrase with far less connotative baggage than the paternalism favored by bygone thinkers.

For more context

Books matter. But not the way some people seem to think.

What to read next

I spend a lot of time not reading books.

Other items of interest

Sometimes a concise overview really is all someone needs.

Condescension aside, Popova may have a point about serious reading on a screen.

Tell me more about J.S. Mill and moral theory.