Friday, July 03, 2009

Is the way humans think changing?

A group of friends and I, we are doing a discussion on Human thinking and how it changes. The seed for our discussion started with this article. In all, all of us felt the following symptoms:
  • Cannot concentrate on a single task more than ten minutes - interestingly we found that we could concentrate if need be, but that the bar for need was set very high(way up near the sky!) so that most of our daily activities were below the bar. (You can say a deadline in an hour to be above the bar - but even then some of my friend just needed to check their text messages)
  • Needed music in the background to give more productive work - I definitely need them to write better code but felt that when I'm writing articles and documents, the music is a hindrance! And some friends needed music even to study for exams! Heck! One of them even has a "Study time" playlist in his iPod.
  • Cannot remember phone numbers - None of us can remember each other's phone numbers. I remember some phone numbers in India but that's about it. I don't remember my best bud's number in US though we talk to each other every alternate day. I'd be so lost without my cell phone and its list of numbers.
  • Lesser exercise in strategic thinking for the brain - I think Google maps is really, really good making it easy to do all the figuring out for every shopping trip we do. We use the public transit for all shopping!! And my brain gets lesser exercise!! :(
  • More skimming of articles - I cannot read any more serious prose or long poetry. Succinct is the word. Same with all my friends. Sometimes we wonder if the human brain is becoming more attention deficient. But my dad can still read long articles without batting eyelids! Guess the younger generation is the most afflicted with it.
  • More web interaction - I 'talk' to so many of my friends through internet. Facebook, Twitter (though I don't use it much), Gtalk, Orkut, LinkedIn, etc, etc. The phone and face-to-face communication is becoming rare. But its fun and has become a way of life to get up in the morning and check messages on these mediums. I remember times when internet was limited to just half an hour a day and this was just 4 years ago!!
  • More information, less knowledge, lesser wisdom - all of us are bombarded with information from all sides and in all forms. But it takes time to make it knowledge and that time is what we can't give to all information. It takes practice and time to make the knowledge into wisdom. But, we feel that transforming info to knowledge is possible for most of us but true wisdom is really difficult in this fast paced world. But I guess no one cares anymore - people have the internet and Google and Bing to bring the world's wisdom to their fingertips. If they can use that wisdom well, they'd be the kings of this world. But using the wisdom also requires practice. And that takes time!
  • Change in lifestyle - I still remember the day my uncle took us to the bank to learn how it works. But now, everything is online and automated and more abstract than ever. My first bank trip to withdraw Rs.100 from my account required serious planning - go to the bank when it is open, fill in the appropriate form, wait in queue, etc. Now, all I do is, go to the atm, insert card and get the cash. Though it saves time, I'm not sure if the experience is worthy remembering in my day.
  • Loss of older ways - We are so comfortable once things are set but in this fast paced experience, there is no settling down of things. My friend's daughter thinks that it is normal to chat inside the email but I remember times when that was not the case. And my mom still reminisces about the hand written letters and the joy they bring with every shout of "Saarrr! Possttt!!" but I feel disconnected about it (this might also be because my family stayed close and we never wrote letters to each other - I've never experienced the wait for a letter and thrill of seeing it in the mail box one day or the thrill of getting it from the postman).
  • Speed - I need the movie to be over yesterday. My friend needs to tour Hawaii last month. Do you get it? We need everything to be done fast. Fast, faster! Once, I've caught myself thinking that the plane should touchdown as soon as it took off. With the influx of information at our fingertips, 'now' has become the norm. However, sometimes, it pushes people to the brink in coping with the pressures (have you felt the need to cross out everything on your to-do list?) and spoils their lives. It IS important to stop and smell the roses!
These are some of the ways we find that our lives are different from those that lived in the same position just five years back. I do see a big difference in the way we think, even between those in my age and those five years older to us or between us and those five years younger to us. The world is changing rapidly and the human mind is adapting rapidly as well. Hope this all leads to a balance and that the journey is interesting. Hang in there, mate!

What are your opinions on this post? Do you think our thinking is changing? Did your style of thinking change in the last few years? Any thoughts welcome.


Aths said...

"I think Google maps is really, really good making it easy to do all the figuring out for every shopping trip we do. We use the public transit for all shopping"

what happend to ur car? And yes, google maps is a lifesaver.. makes me wonder how did we ever go between places till then?

And oh yeah, many are true. Too much information in front of u. I subscribe to an entire set of mags and articles on my Google Reader that I am hard-pressed for time. I am a member of 3-4 book clubs and try desperately to keep up with them, not always managing it. Plus I watch 3-4 TV shows, that I don't know when to watch which!

God help us!

The best things I did so far, were to stick to just one email ID, and not join twitter (yet!)

alpine path said...

Aths, so true. I joined a book club, felt the pressure to finish the book list and finally decided to quit. It took away the fun in reading for me. Great that you manage so much!!
And yeah, put it a few more email ids and throw twitter in - you'd be totally afflicted with this syndrome :D