In this video essay Adam Westbrook tries to reason out why our generation so distracted. He gave two to three arguments which really didn't fit in. He first told media and scientist are blaming the new technology which keeps us so distracted. It is the internet and the computers now, in 80s people blamed the distraction on TVs and 40 on radios and even earlier on movies. And the classic example where Socrates said that writing will bring forgetfulness in people's sole. I keep hearing this argument all the time and it is often used to say "You older generation you have always feared the new technology will bring distraction and have always been wrong and you are also wrong this time". This is sometime also accompanied by a picture of a lot of people reading newspaper in a bus and no one talking to one another. This argument I feel is very shallow, just because transition from one technology to another didn't causes people to become more "distracted" doesn't mean this upcoming transition won't or isn't doing the same. There is also an implicit assumption that the earlier transition didn't bring more "distraction" and as I said a belief the older generation is seeing the whole technology as bad. I like to see things the way Walter O. Jong described in his book Orality and Literacy, that Literacy didn't just "upgraded" orality, it completely changed who we are, we gained a lot but we also lost somethings and literacy even changed the definition of what we consider as gain and what as loss. I sincerely believe that internet is one awesome invention by humans but there are things we need to fix about it, soon.
Well in the beginning of the essay Adam talked about Mozzart and his amazing concentration. I don't see how it made sense. He took a single example out of time and context and just threw it.
In the middle of the essay he talked about the role of hyperlinks in distraction, every hyperlink is a decision, to click or not click. Often when on the internet you just keep browsing through the hyperlinks, one link to the another, forgetting where you came from and why. I enjoy doing it and sometimes I stumble upon very interesting content this way but of course this is not a good to get things done, and to learn something deeply and thoroughly. And I think I should do this random browsing less often, but it is not something evil that I should not do at all.
In the end he pointed out that many of the internet companies makes their profit from advertisements and it makes sense for them to keep us distracted, because the more pages we visit the more ads we see, a distracted person will visit more pages in unit time so more profit made. A more distracted population also makes sense for totalitarian governments and big cooperates because a more distracted population is less likely to notice their autocracies and is less likely to protest. A distracted population is a population which is easier to control. By the way a very problematic aspect of online advertisement is cross website tracking and surveillance. We seriously need to take a stand against it. If you have not done it already I highly recommend that you watch the interactive documentary "Do Not Track Us" https://donottrack-doc.com/en/.