To think or to google

Posted: June 22, 2008 in Errant musings, Web
Tags: ,

Just came back today from Mumbai after a really eventful weekend. Lots of development on the personal and the professional front. Anyways that comes later.

On my way back I read an interesting article by Andrew Sullivan in the Times of India, something which talks about how Internet has been effecting our thinking and reading habits. It was a great read, especially when I had no Internet connection handy and I had deliberately left my cell phone switched off.

Some things to ponder upon

  • How many times do you really go watch a movie or read a book before you have read its review somewhere on the net?
  • How many times do you bother to pick up a book to research a topic
  • Do you read a restaurant review before you head out there for a dinner
  • Do you also keep clicking on every link you come across a web page before you reach the end of the page

Internet has been one of the greatest tools for disseminating information but also at the same time we are becoming used to a kind of life where we hit the Internet for any curious thought. We are unknowingly becoming more and more impatient when it comes to reading or applying some original thought to any event or occurrence.

Andrew Sullivan writes in the article ” The experience of reading only one good book for a while, and allowing its themes to resonate in the mind, is what we risk losing. I would carry a single book around with me for days when younger, letting its ideas splash around in my head, not forming an instant judgment (for or against) but allowing the book to sit for a while, as the rest of the world had its say — the countryside or pavement, the crowd or train carriage, the armchair or lunch counter. Sometimes, human beings need time to think things through, to allow themselves to entertain a thought before committing to it.

With a deluge of information we are slowly building up enormous capability to scour through it but at the same time we remain detached and quite often unaffected.

Quoting from the article again Right now, we may be maximally overwhelmed by all this accessible information, but the time may come when our mastery of the new world allows us to gain more perspective on it. Here’s hoping. Shallowness, after all, does not necessarily preclude depth. We just have to find a new equilibrium between the two. We need to be both pond-skaters and scuba divers. We need to master the ability to access facts while reserving time and space to do something meaningful with them

To the questions I have listed above, I do all of it. I read reviews of books before I buy them, the same goes for visiting a restaurant or going for a movie. And quite often while browsing I end up at pages totally unrelated to what I had started from, all because I clicked on most of the links I came across on the page.  And when I have an opinion, I go online to check what others feel about it and I do get influenced by  the opinions of some unknown people out there. I sometimes wonder if so much of information available so easily will take the fun out of the small surprises life has in store for us. Quite often before I visit a place I know which restaurant to go , which route to take, what to buy and what all places are there for sightseeing. Because  I had googled for it the previous night.

Yes, I Google quite often then I think or explore anything…..what do you do?


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