Monday, November 19, 2012
Are supertaskers delusional?
The platform and attitude (and the loss in this last election) of the Republican party has made it crystal clear that we are dumbing down as a people. Extreme Conservatives and Right Wingers (especially the religious right) have pushed against critical thinking and questioning authority, unless it fits their agendas, or your name is Obama...or Clinton. And recent research is proving it is going to get worse if we don't react soon. And with our history of reacting to things, like climate change, I don't have high hopes.
College students tested against less tech savvy people are showing their perceived multitasking superiority as "supertaskers", people who may for example, be active on Facebook, Tweet, talk on the phone, do homework, watch TV, etc., are deluding themselves and are actually proving to be far worse multitaskers than they themselves conceive.
What we need to do as a nation is to stop multitasking so much. Corporations want us to multitask because they believe that they are getting more bang for their bucks. But they actually aren't. Corporations too are having issues because of stupid decisions. Look at the banking industry. There is more going on in our economy than just deregulation. Think Hostess, for one recent example where blame by the Political Right is being put on Unions or the employees themselves; people who tried to stand up to a corporation who had far exceeded their ability to endure as a company, and who refused to evolve; which is death to any long running company.
What we need is a push to start focusing more on single tasking and compartmentalizing tasks. Learn not to respond to everything immediately. Set times for certain things. Practice one thing at a time. Yes, in this modern day it's almost impossible. But we need a paradigm shift, or we're lost. Because there are so many of us, yes, we will probably struggle along; but it doesn't have to be that way. We do not have to live such a low quality of life, when it could be far superior to what it is. Life is as it is, because we aren't paying attention and we think, we are.
Buddhism is one good example of a way to be, that is actually smarter than multitasking. Buddhism teaches "mindfullness". That you should focus on what you are doing fully and completely, to be a happier individual. When you are eating, eat. When talking with someone, practice "being" there with that parson, be "in the room with them" mentally, as well as physically. Not only is it good manners, you get more done in the long run, and you are doing yourself and others, service.
You are doing mental pushups for your brain.
Consider what kind of work out you get if you did one pushup, then read a book for twenty seconds. Now consider doing twenty or fifty pushups, then read a book for half an hour. The first way is insane. The second gives you a strong body and mind.
If we need anything in the world right now, with all the changes, the failed economies, the "superstorms", disasters and such, it is strong minds and bodies.
And please people, start reading books, and not just any books. That has gotten us into a lot of trouble. Vet your books before you read just anything. There are lots of nuts out there, and lots of published fluff. Even some books written by true experts are total nonsense. We've seen too much of resources being expended into nonexistent "problems", like voter fraud and verifying Americans are Americans. It's all fluff, distractions, like the Petraeus "affair", if you'll excuse the pun.
If you already read books now, but you are one of the extremes (extreme conservative or liberal, extreme religious, etc.), stop reading books that are so fringe or that tend to agree with you and start reading books based upon a solid foundation of intelligence and unbiased information.
Remember that saying, "keep your friends close and your enemies closer"? Learn the other side's point of view. Maybe, they are actually right on some things. It's hard to let go of long held beliefs, like climate change doesn't exist. Well, I don't want to bum you out, but oh yes it does. The proof's in and anyone telling you other wise is trying to kill you. Now, there's a conspiracy that's real and you can sink your teeth into and no, they mostly really don't know they are part of a conspiracy, as they are simply ignorant and propagating pure nonsense.
Yes, UFO's are fun, ghosthunting is fun, seeing a conspiracy behind every Bush, extreme liberal or conservative is fun; but let's face it, we need real brainpower, working on real issues. Those other things are for when everything is running smoothly, for when all is functional and we are no longer running for our lives.
In getting back to our topic at hand (remember, multitasking?), when you are reading those books that you've verified as having actual useful information, concepts and helpful, useful knowledge in them(?), focus on your reading. Put down the smart phone, ignore Facebook, turn off the TV, put on some soft music that let's you focus on your reading and helps you to keep from drifting away from the words on the page. Try to understand what you are reading, don't just barrel though it. I realize that most of the people who would be even reading this blog, probably don't need to be told any of this. But perhaps it may put it into a format that makes it easier for you to share with those who could use this information. Who knows? It might come in handy.
Practicing on focusing on our reading is becoming a necessary thing today. It's hard to even find the time to read, yet alone actually have a way to concentrate. But it's healthy to escape daily life with a good book, without interruptions. If you space off on a concept, that's okay. It may even be good. Take the time. Stop reading, think, critically, about the idea you just read. When you are done, reread that last paragraph.
If you are reading and you suddenly notice that you're drifting, or you notice that you do not understand that paragraph, read it again. Re-read it until you DO get it. If after eight or ten times you still don't get it, you've read it too many times; just mark it to return to later; maybe after you finish the book it will make more sense then. Or look it up later, or ask someone if they understand it. People forget how much fun it is to bring up a paragraph in a book to someone and discuss it. It hearkens back to college days when you had to do that. But do this all within reason.
If more people, if everyone did this, think how much better our lives would go, how much better our country would run, how our economy would flourish and how the world would start to be a more peaceful place
Or at very least, we'd have far more lively debates.