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Is Instant News Rotting Your Brain?

April 21, 2013, 5:20 PM

What's the Latest Development?

Swiss novelist Rolf Dobelli has been making waves with a new work of nonfiction called The Art of Thinking Clearly in which he criticizes the news media for poisoning our brains with ever more novelty. Rather than making us more informed, claims Dobelli, our fascination with all things instant and sensational is corrupting our ability to think slowly and consider the evidence before us. "Dobelli argues that real insight and understanding is never instant. It takes time to piece together complex causality, and the global news machine of bite-sized nuggets doesn't do complexity."

What's the Big Idea?

Speaking to a room of British newspaper publishers, Dobelli revealed the results of his four-year experiment in which he closed himself off to all sources of current events. The result? An increase in deep thinking and creativity. "The web may have unleashed infinite possibilities of information and speed, but it still has to be absorbed, assimilated and considered by our clunky old brains if we are to develop any insight or understanding. It's these last two which are now scarce, and crucially, what both require is concentration." By flitting from one news story to another, we risk losing important qualities like ambiguity and uncertainty. 

Read it at the Guardian

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