Wow, Egan notes
that our average attention span has fallen to eight seconds, down from 12 in the year 2000. (That makes it gratifying that the average amount of time spent by someone on this website is over 4 minutes.)
...a quote from Satya Nadella, the chief executive officer of Microsoft... “The true scarce commodity of the near future will be human attention.”...Putting aside Microsoft’s self-interest in promoting quick-flash digital ads with what may be junk science, there seems little doubt that our devices have rewired our brains. We think in McNugget time. The trash flows, unfiltered, along with the relevant stuff, in an eternal stream. And the last hit of dopamine only accelerates the need for another one.
You see it in the press, the obsession with mindless listicles that have all the staying power of a Popsicle. You see it in our politics, with fear-mongering slogans replacing anything that requires sustained thought. And the collapse of a fact-based democracy, where, for example, 60 percent of Trump supporters believe Obama was born in another country, has to be a byproduct of the pick-and-choose news from the buffet line of our screens.
Egan suggests that gardening and deep reading of biographies are useful antidotes.
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