As much as I love the internet, I fear it is dumbing us down. No one wants to read long bouts of text. We want pretty pictures. We want a stupid and easy to understand ‘meme’ like Happy Friday which appeals to the mass. We have succumbed to the forced routine of working Monday to Friday and then enjoying a weekend. Now copywriters and editors are forced to write headlines like “you won’t believe what this cat will do next”.
For once the cover is more appealing than the book. And the book doesn’t exist. The book is too long to hold the attention of the next generation of adults. Life is now meant to be ‘fun’. A world where ignorance is bliss, TL;DR is a regular phrase and the less we understand the happier we are.
We sit mindlessly on Facebook. We see these posts without caring where they have come from. We expect something amazing and watch the video. We’re mildly satisfied and in the next instant we’re unsatisfied and want more and more and more.
If we see a video that is longer than 5 minutes we won’t bother watching it. If we realise a book will take us 8 months to read it, we won’t bother.
I have been wondering why I feel numb most of the time. And why I need to check Facebook most of my time.
Upon forcing myself to finish reading Nineteen Eighty-Four I feel like I have restored my old mind. I don’t know where it went but I know it had become satisfied with spending five years sitting at a desk feeding the lowest common denominators. And the worst part is realising I have become part of this mass of people who want a quick boredom fix. All. The. Time.
It took me months to finish this book. I regularly got distracted. I even found myself welcoming distractions. I can’t understand why because I wanted to read. I wanted to lose myself in the story, in this world. But my mind was already accustomed to short bursts of entertainment.
Every day I usually do at least 5 things at once. Reading a book requires the opposite.
I would pick up the book and with every sentence a fascinating concept greeted me, spurring me onto deep bouts of thought. Twenty minutes later I would remember where I was and read the next sentence. The streams of consciousness were wonderful but they were ample, and I hadn’t set out to spend my Saturday just thinking.
One could argue this was a good thing, but I fear that I could have kept my focus and kept my grip within the book if my mind wasn’t now trained to multitask everything I do.
At the end is an appendix of ‘newspeak’, an extremely depressing vocabulary in which words are vanquished to streamline conversation and thought. I remembered that while reading the book I had to Google quite a few words I’d never even heard of before.
I began to see that the reality within the book was rearing its disturbing head. If anything could make you fear the idea of settling for ignorance; settling for ‘memes’; settling for the concept that humans no longer want to read long bouts of text – this was it.
If our world exists through our minds, you need to nurture yours well. Read more books. Read them every night. You will begin to understand everything and the numbness will subside.