Every so often Loreena is profoundly struck by a book she reads and in turn wants to share it with others, including all of you – members of the Loreena McKennitt Community. This summer that book was The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr. Loreena mentioned it during all of her performances and people have since been writing in with their own comments on the subject.
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
by Nicholas Carr
This controversial and thought-provoking book by Nicholas Carr was a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in the General Nonfiction category. A New York Times bestseller, Carr’s book describes his theory on what the internet and related technologies are doing to what we think – and how we think. He argues that the internet and computers have reduced our capacity for depth, concentration and contemplation. “I found the book absolutely riveting,” says Loreena, “and I strongly encourage others to read it. I’m not anti-technology, but I feel the speed and reach of our technological advances have not allowed us the measured circumstances to learn how and when to embrace all this technology.” Carr writes about the plasticity of the brain, pointing out that this very quality, which has enabled us to adapt so well over time, is also what makes us so vulnerable to these ubiquitous “distraction technologies,” as he calls them. “Like many other people on the planet right now, I’m feeling this incredible push all the time,” confesses Loreena. “If I’m to stay in the game, business-wise, I have no other choice but to adapt. But adapting takes time and one is obliged to do it without necessarily being convinced of the benefits. Just because everyone else is doing it is not in itself justification. This book gives us all much food for thought.”
Canada’s public broadcaster, the CBC, has posted more of Loreena’s comments on the book. You can check them out here if you’re interested.
And if you think you would enjoy this book too, you can order it through Amazon.com.
We also invite you to post your comments on the subject via the Loreena McKennitt message board – which ironically is pretty old school and not even close to the kind of technology Nicholas Carr talks about. But write us anyway. We promise to read what you have to say.