Loss of Span/Depth – LIA

July 31, 2008

You don’t get depth from blog posts. Even the most thought-out, well articulated, brilliant blog-post of all time. You don’t get depth from a Wikipedia entry (even if the trail seems to lead all the way to the bottom of something deep). Even if the internet-source is something depth-ful, you lose the depth almost by default when you view the content on a computer screen: when it’s so easy to make something on the computer disappear, this should be a sign of the ease-of-forgetfulness will as easily analogize over to your mind.

Where do you get depth? From books: textbooks, novels, short stories, popular science books, notebooks (yes, even your own!), basically anything paper you can hold in your hand. I don’t mean to be Ludditic here, but there is something to be said for the modularity and discrete-ness (literally discrete units of information) of a book. A computer screen can hold anything at any time: Maxwell’s equations, a sonnet, a neat YouTube video (‘I’m old Greg!!!’), or the rambling of a fool (this being a case in point). A book only has that freedom until the ink hits the page: from there on out, it’s up to you to choose which module you’d like at any time. The book lends itself to single-tasking.

Of course, all of these ‘problems’ thus far with the computer and the internet are a function of this human, not of the technology. But unfortunately, or fortunately, the easier thing to change is the technology, not this human. This human is pretty stubborn, set in its ways, and much less easy to adapt. That’s just the name of the game.

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