Kindle, “Killing the Book for it’s own good” , and How the Internet is Reprogramming Us.

So, I recently got myself a Kindle. As this is apparently supposed to be a “Live dramatizing event that will change the way you read forever, Pal !”, to quote a pall of mine, Owen, who has one of the most unusual personality’s I’ve ever seen (neither me or my friends know if he really does think he is god or is constantly joking…only one thing is certain : he adores Mechas and Japan) .

Personally, the reason I bought it was, on one side, the fact it will let me read a lot of books, and one the other side, the fact that, since I’m going to spend the next year Woofing for several months in Australia and probably spending the rest either by going sight-seeing around Australia or working part-time to scrape some money for my studies (which, while we’re at it, at the highly anticipated “I have no idea what I’m going to do” stage).

Of course, As has become a sort of custom in most of my posts, the title states three different subjects which happen to be (at least for me…) related.

So, on to the next little update: “Killing the book for its own good”. Now, what do I mean by killing the book? It’s not as dramatic as it sounds (I’m not telling you do go do a literary auto-da-fe! ), It is merely the “physical” aspect of the book that would die. Of course, as our society has come to rely on books as it has come to rely on all great discoveries (and would probably find some stupid way to die if one of them happened to disappear ), It would have to remain at least in its “mental” form, aka., ebooks, audio-books, and, probably some time in the future information-to-brain Download Books…

So, there are many arguments for or against “killing” the book, to cite a few on each side, if we “kill” the book we will gain:

  • Lesser consumption of woods since books are one of the only kinds of objects where we have not found a durable (but in most cases extremely stupid) way to replace the original material with plastic instead.
  • Virtualization of books will make them “accessible to the masses” (hey…wait, isn’t this the argument we used to promote the Gutenberg press and mass-production of books in the first place ?).

Then, of course, there are those that are against it (while we’re at it, I’m sort of in the middle ground of this territorial battle, saying we should keep physical books but not try to stop their virtualization either.) :

  • By virtualizing the book, we will subject it to the Data To All\Understand It Fast rules of the Internet, ei., we will let all those pesky Hyper-link and stuff into books, forcing them to forever lose the great characters of long books (for an example of a long book : Proust and  his “in search of Lost Time“).
  • There are also those who, like me, keep up with the scientific studies about how the Net is slowly changing the entire way we think, and believe it is a very bad idea to go from the “deep reading” of physical books to the “constant link-jumping” of ebooks. they also argue that since our memories are better at recalling events or information who arrive from several channels (ei., the different senses like touch, smell and view are all acting upon one another to ameliorate our memory), going to an all-digital reading experience will eliminate some of these stimulus (the texture of a book, the smell of old paper and whatnot…) .

So, here we go for the Third installment of this post, aka. The Reprogramming of us, inventors of the net, by our invention.

This may sound weird but as One of the previous arguments mentioned, the way we read is influenced by the media we read through. So, let’s say we take up the age-old myth that the brain stops changing its wiring (ei., Cerebral Plasticity ends at the age of X ) and kill it in the egg : Recent studies show that the brains, from toddlers to 100-year-olds, never stops “rewiring”, the reason scientists accidentally published the myth that our brains stop changing at a certain age is that, as is the case with most studies on cerebral aspects, the experiments and observations were done on Science’s Best Pal, aka., the lab rat…

Here’s the “story” as I’ve heard it :

Everyone knows Lab Rat’s are, or were, as with this new discovery everything changes, not exactly kept in luxury homes, they were kept in formal, blank, indistinct cages and feed the same food everyday, at the same time. Now the only thought that comes to mind first is “Oh what a boring life a lab rat lives… “, now, The bizarre thing is that the fact that rats lived a rather dull life in labs is the main cause for scientists not discovering that their brains could rewire themselves at an advanced age. You see, the brain is “Engineered” (through evolution or the God(s) Will… Your choice) to be the most efficient “machine” on earth (and, as many scientists naively believe, in the universe) to deal with NEW circumstances, which means that  “Of Course !” the lab rats aren’t developing new neural pathways because they never encounter any events that are not “repetitions” of already known events.

The lesson one can take from this (if one happens to be a Scientist without a rat fetish) is that our brains are rewired not according to the information we acknowledge (anyone studying science will tell you that you cannot just “Skim” over the material and expect to remember it all) but only really activates, forming new neural “highways”, so to say, when they encounter new, shocking events.

This, of course, applies in an equal way in the other direction : there is no “Priority” nodes in our brains choices for which neurons break up and reconnect, so , at least according to certain scientists, our brains constantly rewrite themselves and, sometimes. “delete” old neural highways which, being smaller in size because of their less frequent use, happens to be easier to brake up. So, does this mean that our brains rewire themselves when we surf the net ? Yes, this means that at any given moment, the amount of time you spend doing one activity in detriment to another, favors whatever neural pathways this activity uses in detriment to others.

Of course the good side of this is that it explains that we can become “specialists” in some domains. Since we tend to favor that “domain” much more than others.

 

So, I hope this post was to your liking.

 

My Greetings, Peter.

P.S : I think that some of my posts in the next bit of time are going to experiment with using the different kind of “posts” that one can make and the different formats that are in Word-press database (the Chat format intrigues me… will it allow me to add a chat-box-like contraption to my blog or will it do something different ? You’ll probably see the answer sometime soon when I get to experimenting with it 🙂 ).

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About novusophia

21 year old undergraduate (Year 2) Biology student in Perpignan, France. I'm obsessed with Biotech, Science in general, and Entrepreneurship, and planning on one day combining them all ! (Also, I'm going to take over the world... bow before the overlord !)
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