I think I’m suffering from some type of ADD (Attention-Deficit Disorder). I have a couple of good examples that I can cite as evidence of this.
We have a Parent/Teacher conference this coming Thursday for my youngest son. This morning, at the breakfast table, I asked my oldest if he was going to show us his report card. He told me that he had shown it to us last week and that we had discussed it. I didn’t remember, and neither did my husband. It was not until he repeated back a couple of sentences to us verbatim that we were able to vaguely remember the discussion. Of course, this is probably a better example of early onset Alzheimer’s than ADD, but it happened to both my husband and to me. So, I’m going with a deficit of attention. Needless to say, I’m not proud of this incident.
This deficit of attention has another disturbing effect. These days, it’s rare for me to read a news article from start to finish. I stop reading halfway into the post, then go to the last paragraph and see if I can find a concluding comment that sums up the post. I mentioned this to my husband, after recovering from the shock of having forgotten the report-card discussion with our firstborn. His answer was,”welcome to the 21st century.” Then, he proceeded to explain that when he reads a news article, he only reads the first and last sentence of each paragraph.
I was, both, relieved and disturbed, relieved because my lack of focused attention is not something that is just happening to me, disturbed because maybe this is happening to too many of us.
And, why? Why is this happening?
It’s, without a doubt, information overload. Besides our constant connection to emails and text messages, so much is happening all the time, and everything is important. There’s Putin and the Ukraine, the question of whether a dress is white and gold or blue and black (it’s white/gold to me). Global warming is causing extreme weather, Under The Dome is both a TV show and a new documentary on pollution (the documentary is more popular than the TV show), some crazy people are volunteering to go to Mars and never come back, Mars once had an ocean and NASA made it to a dwarf planet called Ceres, House of Cards season 3 is out and so are the reviews, Hillary used her personal account for work emails (so did Colin Powell), President Obama gave a historic speech on the 50th anniversary of the Selma march, Selma the movie is a must-see (and I still haven’t seen it), John Boehner invited Netayanhu to give a speech to Congress without consulting the White House, he gave it, Jon Stewart criticized it, Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show, Samantha Bee will not be replacing him but is getting her own show, robots are slowly but surely taking over the world.
At this point I’d like to point out that someday life might imitate art and find the human race (or a very small bunch of humans) living right smack in the middle of a Battlestar Galactica nightmare, fighting a huge army of robots. I had to stop watching that show because it was freaking me out. But, if I had to put my money on whether humans or robots will one day rule the world, I’d go with the robots. This is not because I prefer them to humans, but because the zeal with which artificial intelligence is being pursued, will lead us to be stupid enough to make them smarter than us.
By the way, regarding the previous paragraph, I’m glad that I was able to stop my frantic rant with a coherent thought, even if the thought is about the depressing possibility that one day the human race will be replaced by a robotic one. But, the good news is that not too many of you will be reading this post since Twitter, my main method for bringing traffic to this blog, is very inefficient at doing this, according to an article I half-read and decided to wholly ignore.
I’d like to finish this post with some pointed commentary about the way to go forward, but I don’t know what that is. I know that I won’t be able to go on like this. This ADD is a big minus in my life. A “bad” reader makes a bad writer. But, I can’t get into that right now. I have to go read about Darren Wilson’s boss’ racist email, Matt Drudge’s conspiracy theory about President Obama and the DOJ filing corruption charges against Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, Jordan Sekulow (Jeb Bush’s scary new adviser), what the new iWatch will finally be able to do, and “one more thing,” possibly the launch of a new MacBook Air.
Welcome to the 21st century, indeed.
Update: Apple is launching a new MacBook Air that is smaller and lighter than the current one, but they’re not calling it Air, just MacBook. This means that, at Apple, the Air is heavier than a Book. This is something to think about, or not.