Sunday, November 24, 2013

Connected, Part Two: Is the Internet Changing Our Brains?

Is the Internet changing our brains?

In his 1998 book The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, author Leonard Shlain explored the historic changes that took place as written language evolved and spread across the globe, accompanied by a shift from cultures oriented toward goddess-worship and feminine values toward more patriarchal, male-dominated societies. His theory was that writing stimulated left-brain thinking, causing a collective shift away from the more holistic, right-brain modes.

In the last year of his life, following a diagnosis with terminal brain cancer, Leonard Shlain struggled to complete a (not yet published) book called Leonardo's Brain, on the subject of Leonardo Da Vinci. During the same time period his daughter, filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, was at work on the documentary film Connected. Their collaborative conclusion is that the Internet may be changing our brains again and that we may be on the cusp of yet another historic shift. (I don't want to give away any more than that. Watch the film to learn more about how our brains may be changing and what this might mean for our world.)

The film is complex and though-provoking, and it is one of several things that have been on my mind lately as I think about the ways that we are all connected and interdependent. In the words of Tiffany Shlain: "For centuries we've been declaring independence, and perhaps it's time to finally declare our interdependence."

This post is one of a series of posts on the subject of connection. To read the full series, please click here

1 comment:

  1. Ooooh....I started the Shlain book last year when I got it as a Christmas present. I had to put it down after 4 chapters because it was (a) dense, requiring a lot of digesting, and (b) clear that if I kept reading, I was in for a major shift.

    I had a sense I wasn't ready yet. Your post is a prompt for me to reassess.