Pleasure only gets you so far.A rich,rewarding life often requires a messy battle with adversity.
The Hidden Side of Happiness
Hurricanes,house fires,cancer,whitewater rafting accidents,plane crashes,vicious attacks in dark alleyways.Nobody asks for any of it.But to their surprise,many people find that enduring such a harrowing ordeal ultimately changes them for the better.Their refrain might go something like this:"I wish it hadn't happened,but I'm a better person for it."
We love to hear the stories of people who have been transformed by their tribulations,perhaps because they testify to a bona fide psychological truth,one that sometimes gets lost amid endless reports of disaster:There is a built-in human capacity to flourish under the most difficult circumstances.Positive reactions to profoundly disturbing experiences are not limited to the toughest or the bravest.In fact,roughly half the people who struggle with adversity say that their lives have in some ways improved.
This and other promising findings about the life-changing effects of crises are the province of the new science of post-traumatic growth.This fledgling field has already proved the truth of what once passed as bromide:What doesn't kill you can actually make you stronger.Post-traumatic stress is far from the only possible outcome.In the wake of even the most terrifying experiences, only a small proportion of adults become chronically troubled.More commonly,people rebound—or even eventually thrive.
3、诸如此类有关危机改变一生的发现有着可观的研究前景，这正是创伤后成长这一新学科的研究领域。这一新兴领域已经证实了曾经被视为陈词滥调的一个真理：大难不死，意志弥坚。创伤后压力绝不是唯一可能的结果。在遭遇了即使最可怕的经历之后，也只有一小部分成年人会受到长期的心理折磨。更常见的情况是，人们会恢复过来----甚至最终会成功发达。Those who weather adversity well are living proof of one of the paradoxes of happiness:We need more than pleasure to live the best possible life.Our contemporary quest for happiness has shriveled to a hunt for bliss—a life protected from bad feelings,free from pain and confusion.
This anodyne definition of well-being leaves out the better half of the story,the rich,full joy that comes from a meaningful life.It is the dark matter of happiness,the ineffable quality we admire in wise men and women and aspire to cultivate in our own lives.It turns out that some of the people who have suffered the most,who have been forced to contend with shocks they never anticipated and to rethink the meaning of their lives,may have the most to tell us about that profound and intensely fulfilling journey that philosophers used to call the search for"the good life."
5、这种对幸福的平淡定义忽略了问题的主要方面----一种富有意义的生活带来的那种丰富、完整的愉悦。那就是幸福背后隐藏的那种本质----是我们在明智的男男女女身上所欣赏到并渴望在我们生活中培育的那种不可言喻的品质。事实证明，一些遭受困难最多的人---他们被迫全力应付他们未曾预料到的打击，并重新思考他们生活的意义---或许对那种深刻的、给人以强烈满足感的人生经历（哲学家们过去称之为对“美好生活”的探寻）最有发言权。This broader definition of good living blends deep satisfaction and a profound connection to others through empathy.It is dominated by happy feelings but seasoned also with nostalgia and regret."Happiness is only one among many values in human life,"contends Laura King,a psychologist at the University of Missouri in https://www.sodocs.net/doc/6e2531863.html,passion,wisdom,altruism,insight, creativity—sometimes only the trials of adversity can foster these qualities,because sometimes only drastic situations can force us to take on the painful process of change.To live a full human life,a tranquil,carefree existence is not enough.We also need to grow—and sometimes growing hurts.
In a dark room in Queens,New York,31-year-old fashion designer Tracy Cyr believed she was dying.A few months before,she had stopped taking the powerful immune-suppressing drugs that kept her arthritis in check.She never anticipated what would happen:a withdrawal reaction that eventually left her in total body agony and neurological meltdown.The slightest movement—trying to swallow,for example—was excruciating.Even the pressure of her cheek on the pillow was almost unbearable.
Cyr is no wimp—diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at the age of2,she'd endured the symptoms and the treatments(drugs,surgery)her whole life.But this time,she was way past her limits,and nothing her doctors did seemed to help.Either the disease was going to kill her or, pretty soon,she'd have to kill herself.
As her sleepless nights wore on,though,her suicidal thoughts began to be interrupted by new feelings of gratitude.She was still in agony,but a new consciousness grew stronger each night:an awesome sense of liberation,combined with an all-encompassing feeling of sympathy and compassion."I felt stripped of everything I'd ever identified myself with,"she said six months later."Everything I thought I'd known or believed in was useless—time,money,self-image, perceptions.Recognizing that was so freeing."
Within a few months,she began to be able to move more freely,thanks to a cocktail of steroids and other drugs.she says there's no question that her life is better now."I felt I had been shown the secret of life and why we're here:to be happy and to nurture other life.It's that simple."
Her mind-blowing experience came as a total surprise.But that feeling of transformation is in some ways typical,says Rich Tedeschi,a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte who coined the term"post-traumatic growth."His studies of people who have endured extreme events like combat,violent crime or sudden serious illness show that most feel dazed and anxious in the immediate aftermath.They are preoccupied with the idea that their lives have been shattered.A few are haunted long afterward by memory problems,sleep trouble and similar symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.But Tedeschi and others have found that for many people—perhaps even the majority—life ultimately becomes richer and more gratifying.
Something similar happens to many people who experience a terrifying physical threat.In that moment,our sense of invulnerability is pierced,and the self-protective mental armor that normally stands between us and our perceptions of the world is torn away.Our everyday life scripts—our habits,self-perceptions and assumptions—go out the window,and we're left with a raw experience of the world.
Still,actually implementing these changes,as well as fully coming to terms with the new reality, usually takes conscious effort.Being willing and able to take on this process is one of the major differences between those who grow through adversity and those who are destroyed by it.the people who find value in adversity aren't the toughest or the most rational.What makes them different is that they are able to incorporate what happened into the story of their own life.
Eventually,they may find themselves freed in ways they never imagined.Survivors often say they become more tolerant and forgiving of others,capable of bringing peace to formerly troubled relationships.They say that material ambitions suddenly seem silly and the pleasures of friends and family paramount—and that the crisis allowed them to reorganize life in line with the new priorities.
People who have grown from adversity often feel much less fear,despite the frightening things they've been through.They are surprised by their own strength,confident that they can handle whatever else life throws at them."People don't say that what they went through was wonderful,"says Tedeschi."They weren't meaning to grow from it.They were just trying to survive.But in retrospect,what they gained was more than they ever anticipated."
In his recent book satisfaction，Emory University psychiatrist Gregory Berns points to extreme endurance athletes who push themselves to their physical limits for days at a time.They cycle through the same sequence of sensations as do trauma survivors:self-loss,confusion and,finally, a new sense of mastery.For ultramarathoners,who regularly run100-mile races that last more than24hours,vomiting and hallucinating are normal.After a day and night of running without stopping or sleeping,competitors sometimes forget who they are and what they're doing.
For a more common example of growth through adversity,look to one of life's biggest challenges: parenting.Having a baby has been shown to decrease levels of happiness.The sleep deprivation and the necessity of putting aside personal pleasures in order to care for an infant mean that people with newborns are more likely to be depressed and find their marriage on the rocks. Nonetheless,over the long haul,raising a child is one of the most rewarding and meaningful of all human undertakings.The short-term sacrifice of happiness is outweighed by other benefits,like satisfaction,altruism and the chance to leave a meaningful legacy.
Ultimately,that emotional reward can compensate for the pain and difficulty of adversity.This perspective does not cancel out what happened,but it puts it all in a different context:that it's possible to live an extraordinarily rewarding life even within the constraints and struggles we face. In some form or other,says King,we all must go through this realization."You're not going to be the person you thought you were,but here's who you are going to be instead—and that turns out to be a pretty great life."
Commercialization and changes in sports
杰.J.科克利Throughout history sports have been used as forms of public entertainment.However,sports have been never been so heavily packaged,promoted,presented and played as commercial products as they are today.Never before have decisions about sports and the social relationships connected with sports been so clearly influenced by economic factors.The bottom line has replaced the goal line for many people,and sports no longer exist simply for the interests of the athletes themselves.Fun and"good games"are now defined in terms of gate receipts, concessions revenues,the sale of media rights,market shares,rating points,and advertising potential.Then,what happens to sports when they become commercialized?Do they change when they become dependent on gate receipts and the sale of media rights?
We know that whenever any sport is converted into commercial entertainment,its success depends on spectator appeal.Although spectators often have a variety of motives underlying their attachment to sports,their interest in any sporting even is usually related to a combination of three factors:the uncertainly of an event's outcome,the risk or financial rewards associated with participating in an event,and the anticipated display of excellence or heroics by the athletes. In other words,when spectators refer to a"good game"or an"exciting contest",they are usually talking about one in which the outcome was in doubt until the last minutes or seconds,one in which the stakes were so high that athletes were totally committed to and engrossed in the action,or one in which there were a number of excellent or"heroic"performances.When games or matches contain all three of these factors,they are remembered and discussed for a long time.
Commercialization has not had a dramatic effect on the format and goals of most sports.In spite of the influence of spectators,what has occurred historically is that sports have maintained their basic format.Innovations have been made within this framework,rather than completely dismantling the design of a game.For example,the commercialization of the Olympic Games has led to minor rule changes in certain events,but the basic structure of each Olympic sport has remained much the same as it was before the days of corporate endorsements and the sale of television rights.
3、商业化对于大多数体育运动的结构和目标没有太大的影响。尽管观众会对其产生影响，但在历史上，运动项目保持了它们的基本结构。创新也是在这一个框架内进行的，并不会完全废除这项运动的基本设计。例如，奥运会的商业化导致了某些赛事规则的微小变化，但其每项运动的基本结构还是和商家赞助及电视转播权出售之前基本一致。Commercialization seems to affect the orientations of sport participants more than it does the format and goals of sports.To make money on a sport,it's necessary to attract a mass audience to buy tickets or watch the events on television.Attracting and entertaining a mass audience is not easy because it's made up of many people who don't have technical knowledge about the complex athletic skills and strategies used by players and coaches.Without this technical knowledge,people are easily impressed by things extrinsic to the game or match itself;they get taken in by hype.During the event itself they often focus on things they can easily understand. They enjoy situations in which players take risks and face clear physical danger;they are attracted to players who are masters of dramatic expression or who are willing to go beyond their normal physical limits to the point of endangering their safety and well-being;and they like to see players committed to victory no matter what the personal cost.
For example,when people lack technical knowledge about basketball,they are more likely to talk about a single slam dunk than about the consistently flawless defense that enabled a team to win a game.Similarly,those who know little about the technical aspects of ice skating are more entertained by triple and quadruple jumps than by routines carefully choreographed and practiced until they are smooth and flawless.Without dangerous jumps,naive spectators get bored.They like athletes who project exciting or controversial personas,and they often rate performances in terms of dramatic expression leading to dramatic results.They want to see athletes occasionally collapse as they surpass physical limits,not athletes who know their limits so well they can successfully compete for years without going beyond them.
极限时偶尔的突然失败，而不是多年来的稳操胜券，熟知自己极限而不去超越它的运动员。When a sport comes to depend on entertaining a mass audience,those involved in the sport often revise their ideas about what is important in sport.This revision usually involves a shift in emphasis from what might be called an aesthetic orientation to a heroic orientation.In fact,the people in sport may even refer to games or matches as"show-time",and they may refer to themselves as entertainers as well as athletes.This does not mean that aesthetic orientations disappear,but it does mean that they often take a back seat to the heroic actions that entertain spectators who don't know enough to appreciate the strategic and technical aspects of the game or match.
As the need to please naive audiences becomes greater,so does the emphasis on heroic orientations.This is why television commentators for US football games continually talk about danger,injuries,playing with pain,and courage.Some athletes,however,realize the dangers associated with heroic orientations and try to slow the move away from aesthetic orientation in their sports.For example,some former figure skaters have called for restrictions on the number of triple jumps that can be included in skating programs.These skaters are worried that the commercial success of their sport is coming to rely on the danger of movement rather than the beauty of movement.However,some skaters seem to be willing to adopt heroic orientations if this is what will please audiences and generate revenues.These athletes usually evaluate themselves and other athletes in terms of the sport ethic,and they learn to see heroic actions as signs of true commitment and dedication to their sport.
Commercialization also leads to changes in the organizations that control sports.When sports begin to depend on generating revenues,the control of sport organizations usually shifts further and further away from the players.In fact,the players often lose effective control over the conditions of their own participation in the sport.These conditions come under the control of general managers,team owners,corporate sponsors,advertisers,media personnel,marketing and publicity staff,professional management staff,accountants,and agents.
The organizations that control commercial sports are usually complex,since they are intended to coordinate the interests of all these people,but their primary goal is to maximize revenues.This means that organizational decisions generally reflect the combined economic interests of many people having no direct personal connection with a sport or with the athletes involved.The power to affect these decisions is grounded in a variety of resources,many of which are not even connected with sports.Therefore athletes in many commercial sports find themselves cut out of decision-making processes even when decisions affect their health and well-being.
I remember on my first trip to Europe going alone to a movie in Copenhagen.In Denmark you are given a ticket for an assigned seat.I went into the cinema and discovered that my ticket directed me to sit beside the only other people in the place,a young couple locked in the sort of passionate embrace associated with dockside reunions at the end of long wars.I could no more have sat beside them than I could have ask to join in--it would have come to mush the same thing--so I took a place a few discreet seats away.
People came into the cinema,consulted their ticket and filled the seats around us.By the time the film started there were about30of us sitting together in a tight pack in the middle of vast and otherwise empty auditorium.Two minutes into the movie,a woman laden with shopping made her way with difficulty down my row,stopped beside my seat and told me in a stern voice, full of glottal stops and indignation,that I was in her place.This cause much paly of flashlights among the usherettes and fretful re-examining of tickets by everyone in the vicinity until word got around that I was an American tourist and therefore unable to follow simple seating instructions and I was escorted in some shame back to my assigned place.
So we sat together and watch the movie,30of us crowed together like refugees in an overloaded lifeboat,rubbing shoulders and sharing small noises,and it occurred to me then that there certain things that some nations do better than everyone else and certain things that they do far worse and I began to wonder why that should be.
3、接下来我们坐在一起看电影，30人如同一艘超载的救生船上的难民一般挤作一团。肩膀相互摩擦着，忍受着各种细小的噪声。那时我想，有些国家在某些事情上做的比任何其他国家都好，然而在另外一些事情上，他们却糟糕很多。我开始思考为何会有如此反差。Sometimes a nation's little contrivances are so singular and clever that we associate them with that country alone—double-decker buses in Britain,windmills in Holland(what an inspired addition to a flat landscape:think how they would transform Nebraska),sidewalk cafes in Paris. And yet there are some things that most countries do without difficulty that others cannot get a grasp of at all.
The French,for instance,cannot get the hang of queuing.They try and try,but it is beyond them. Wherever you go in Paris,you see orderly lines waiting at bus stops,but as soon as the bus pulls up the line instantly disintegrates into something like a fire drill at a lunatic asylum as everyone scrambles to be the fist aboard,quit unaware that this defeats the whole purpose of queuing.
certain of the fundamentals of eating,as evidenced by their instinct to consume hamburgers with a knife and fork.To my continuing amazement,many of them also turn their fork upside-down and balance the food on the back of it.I've lived in England for a decade and a half and I still have to quell an impulse to go up to strangers in pubs and restaurants and say,"Excuse me,can I give you a tip that’ll help those peas bouncing all over the table?"
Germans are flummoxed by humor,the Swiss have no concept of fun,the Spanish think there is nothing at all ridiculous about eating dinner at midnight,and the Italians should never,ever have been let in on the invention of the motor car.
One of the small marvels of my first trip to Europe was the discovery that the world could be so full of variety,that there were so many different of doing essentially identical things,like eating and drinking and buying cinema tickets.It fascinated me that Europeans could at once be so alike-that they could be so universally bookish and cerebral,and drive small cars,and live in little houses in ancient towns,and love soccer,and be relatively unmaterialistic and law-abiding,and have chilly hotel rooms and cosy and inviting places to eat and drink-and yet be so endlessly, unpredictably different from each other as well.I love the idea that you could never be sure of anything in Europe.
I still enjoy that sense of never knowing quite what’s going on.In my hotel in Oslo,where I spent four days after returning from Hammerfest,the chambermaid each morning left me a packet of something called Bio Tex Bla,a“minipakke for ferie,hybelog weekend”,according to the instruction,I spent many happy hours sniffing it and experimenting with it,uncertain whether it was for washing out clothes or gargling or cleaning the toilet bowl.In the end I decided it was for washing out clothes—it worked a treat—but for all I know for the rest of the week everywhere I went in solo people were saying to each other,”you know,that man smelled like toilet-bowl cleaner.”
9、我仍然享受着对事情进展的未知感。从哈默菲斯特返回后，我在奥斯陆的宾馆呆了四天，女服务员每天早上都留给我一盒叫做Bio Tex Bla的东西，说明上说是一种“minipakke for ferie，hybelog weekend”。我不清楚它到底是用来洗衣服的，还是漱口的，或是用来淸洗抽水马桶的，我通过闻它的气味，并试验它各种可能的用法，度过了好几个快乐的小时。最后我判定它是甩来洗衣服的——它的确有效——然而就我所知，在奥斯陆度过的剩下几周中，无论我去哪儿，都听见有人互相议论：“你知道吗?那个人身上有马桶清洁剂的味道。”When I told my friends in London that I was going to travel around Europe and write a book about it,they said,”oh,you must speak a lot of languages.”
they would look at me as if I were crazy.But that’s the glory of foreign travel,as far as I am concerned.I don’t want to know what people are talking about,I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in country where you are ignorant of almost everything.Suddenly you are five years old again.You can’t read anything,you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work,you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life.Your whole existence becomes a series or interesting guesses.
I get great pleasure from watching foreign TV and trying to imagine what on earth is going on.On my first evening in Oslo I watched a science program in which two men in a studio stood at a lab table discussing a variety of sleek,rodent-like animals that were crawling over the surface and occasionally up the host’s jacket,“and you have sex with all these creatures,do you?”the host was saying.
“certainly,”replied the guest,”you have to be careful with the porcupines,of course,and the lemmings get very neurotic and hurl themselves off cliffs if they feel you don’t love them as you once did,basically these animals make very affectionate companions,and the sex is simply out of this world.”
“well,I think that’s wonderful.Next week we’ll be looking at how you can make hallucinogenic drugs with simple household chemicals from your own medicine cabinet,but now it’s time for the screen to go black for a minute and then for the lights to come up suddenly on the host of the day looking as if he was just about to pick his nose.See you next week.”
After Hammerfest,Oslo was simply wonderful.It was still cold and dusted with grayish snow,but it seemed positively tropical after Hammerfest,and I abandoned all thought of buying a furry hat.
I went to the museums and for a day-long way out around the Bygdoy peninsula,where the city’s finest houses stand on the wooded hillsides,with fetching views across the icy water of the harbour to the downtown.But mostly I hung around the city center,wandering back and forth between the railway station and the royal palace,peering in the store windows along Karl Johans Gate,the long and handsome main pedestrian street,cheered by the bright lights,mingling with the happy,healthy,relentlessly,youthful Norwegians,very pleased to be alive and out of Hammerfest and in a world of daylight.when I grew cold.I sat in cafés and bars and eavesdropped on conversations that I could not understand or brought out my Thomas Cook European Timetable and studies it with a kind of humble reverence,planning the rest of my trip.
Thomas Cook European Timetable is possibly the finest book ever produced.It is impossible to leaf through its500pages of densely printed timetables without wanting to dump a double armload of clothes into an old Gladstone and just take off.Every page whispers romance:“Montreux-Zweisimmen-Spiez-Interlaken”,“Beograd-Trieste-Venezia-Verona-Milano”,“G oteborg-Laxa-Hallsberg-Stockholm”,“Ventimiglia-Marseille-Lyon-Pairs”.who could recite these names without experiencing a tug of excitement,without seeing in his mind’s eye a steamy platform full of expectant travelers and piles of luggage standing besides a sleek, quarter-mile-long train with a list of exotic locations slotted into every carriage?Who could read the names”Moskva-Warzawa-Berlin-Basel-Geneve”and not want to climb abroad?Well,Sunny von Biilow for a start.But as for me,I could spend hours just poring over the tables,each one a magical thicket of times,numbers,distances,mysterious little pictograms showing crossed knives and forks,wine glasses,daggers,miner’s pickaxes(whatever could they be for?),ferry boats and buses,and bewilderingly abstruse footnotes.
Internet:absolute communication,absolute isolation—Paul Carvel 因特网:绝对的交流，绝对的孤立—保罗?卡威尔
IS GOOGLE MAKING US STURID
尼古拉斯?卡尔Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone,or something,has been tinkering with my brain,remapping the neural circuitry,reprogramming the memory.My mind isn’t going-so far as I can tell.but it’s changing.I’m not thinking the way I used to think.I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading.Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument,and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose.That’s rarely the case anymore.Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages.I get fidgety,lose the thread,begin looking for something else to do.I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text.The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.
I think I know what’s going on.For more than a decade now,I’ve been spending a lot of time online,searching and surfing and sometimes adding to the great databases of the Internet.The Web has been a godsend to me as a writer.Research that once required days in the stacks or periodical rooms of libraries can now be done in minutes.A few Google searches,some quick clicks on hyperlinks,and I’ve got the telltale fact or pithy quote I was after.Even when I’m not working,I’m as likely as not to be foraging in the Web’s info-thickets’reading and writing e-mails, scanning headlines and blog posts,watching videos and listening to podcasts,or just tripping from link to link to link.(Unlike footnotes,to which they’re sometimes likened,hyperlinks don’t merely point to related works;they propel you toward them.)
For me,as for others,the Net is becoming a universal medium,the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind.The advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many,and they’ve been widely described and duly applauded.“The perfect recall of silicon memory,”Wired’s Clive Thompson has written,“can be an enormous boon to thinking.”But that boon comes at a price. As the media theoristMarshall McLuhan pointed out in the1960s,media are not just passive channels of information.They supply the stuff of thought,but they also shape the process of thought.And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation.My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it:in a swiftly moving stream of particles.Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words.Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.
3、对我来说，像对其他人也一样，网络已经成为了一种通用的媒介，大部分信息都通过这个渠道进人我们的眼、耳，最后进人我们的大脑。能从这样一个异常丰富的信息库中直接获取信息，其优点是很多的，而且也得到了广泛的描述和适当的赞誉。“硅存储器的完美记忆性，”《连线》杂志的克莱夫?汤普森写道，“对于思想来说是一个大实惠。”但是这个实惠是要付出代价的。就像媒体理论家马歇尔?麦克卢恩在上世纪60年代所指出的那样，媒体可不只是被动的信息渠道。它们不但提供了思想的源泉，也塑造了思想的进程。网络似乎粉碎了我专注与沉思的能力。现如今，我的脑袋就盼着以网络提供信息的方式来获取信息:飞快的微粒运动。曾经我是文字海洋中的潜水者，现在我则像是摩托艇骑手在海面上风驰电掣。I’m not the only one.When I mention my troubles with reading to friends and acquaintances—literary types,most of them—many say they’re having similar experiences.The more they use the Web,the more they have to fight to stay focused on long pieces of writing. Some of the bloggers I follow have also begun mentioning the phenomenon.Scott Karp,who writes a blog about online media,recently confessed that he has stopped reading books altogether.“I was a lit major in college,and used to be a voracious book reader,”he wrote.“What happened?”He speculates on the answer:“What if I do all my reading on the web not so much because the way I read has changed,i.e.I’m just seeking convenience,but because the way I THINK has changed?”
Bruce Friedman,who blogs regularly about the use of computers in medicine,also has described how the Internet has altered his mental habits.“I now have almost totally lost the ability to read and absorb a longish article on the web or in print,”he wrote earlier this year.A pathologist who has long been on the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School,Friedman elaborated on his comment in a telephone conversation with me.His thinking,he said,has taken on a “staccato”quality,reflecting the way he quickly scans short passages of text from many sources online.“I can’t read War and Peace anymore,”he admitted.“I’ve lost the ability to do that.Even
a blog post of more than three or four paragraphs is too much to absorb.I skim it.”
Anecdotes alone don’t prove much.And we still await the long-term neurological and psychological experiments that will provide a definitive picture of how Internet use affects cognition.But a recently published study of online research habits，conducted by scholars from University College London,suggests that we may well be in the midst of a sea change in the way we read and think.As part of the five-year research program,the scholars examined computer logs documenting the behavior of visitors to two popular research sites,one operated by the British Library and one by a https://www.sodocs.net/doc/6e2531863.html,cational consortium,that provide access to journal articles, e-books,and other sources of written information.They found that people using the sites exhibited“a form of skimming activity,”hopping from one source to another and rarely returning to any source they’d already visited.They typically read no more than one or two pages of an article or book before they would“bounce”out to another site.Sometimes they’d save a long article,but there’s no evidence that they ever went back and actually read it.
Thanks to the ubiquity of text on the Internet,not to mention the popularity of text-messaging on cell phones,we may well be reading more today than we did in the1970s or1980s,when television was our medium of choice.But it’s a different kind of reading,and behind it lies a different kind of thinking—perhaps even a new sense of the self.“We are not only what we read,”says Maryanne Wolf,a developmental psychologist at Tufts University and the author of Proust and the Squid:The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.“We are how we read.”Wolf worries that the style of reading promoted by the Net,a style that puts“efficiency”and “immediacy”above all else,may be weakening our capacity for the kind of deep reading that emerged when an earlier technology,the printing press,made long and complex works of prose commonplace.When we read online,she says,we tend to become“mere decoders of information.”Our ability to interpret text,to make the rich mental connections that form when we read deeply and without distraction,remains largely disengaged.
Reading,explains Wolf,is not an instinctive skill for human beings.It’s not etched into our genes the way speech is.We have to teach our minds how to translate the symbolic characters we see into the language we understand.And the media or other technologies we use in learning and practicing the craft of reading play an important part in shaping the neural circuits inside our brains.Experiments demonstrate that readers of ideograms,such as the Chinese,develop a mental circuitry for reading that is very different from the circuitry found in those of us whose written language employs an alphabet.The variations extend across many regions of the brain, including those that govern such essential cognitive functions as memory and the interpretation of visual and auditory stimuli.We can expect as well that the circuits woven by our use of the Net will be different from those woven by our reading of books and other printed works.
Sometime in1882,Friedrich Nietzsche bought a typewriter—a Malling-Hansen Writing Ball,to be precise.His vision was failing,and keeping his eyes focused on a page had become exhausting and painful,often bringing on crushing headaches.He had been forced to curtail his writing,and he feared that he would soon have to give it up.The typewriter rescued him,at least for a time. Once he had mastered touch-typing,he was able to write with his eyes closed,using only the tips of his fingers.Words could once again flow from his mind to the page.
But the machine had a subtler effect on his work.One of Nietzsche’s friends,a composer,noticed a change in the style of his writing.His already terse prose had become even tighter,more telegraphic.“Perhaps you will through this instrument even take to a new idiom,”the friend wrote in a letter,noting that,in his own work,his“‘thoughts’in music and language often depend on the quality of pen and paper.”