Reading and Thought by Dwight MacDonald

871 Words2 Pages

In the article “Reading and Thought” the author Dwight MacDonald provides criticism and disagreement with Henry Luce’s idea of “functional curiosity”. Luce developed the term “functional curiosity” defining it as an eagerness of people to know the latest news happening around the world. On the other hand, MacDonald concludes that functional curiosity only strengthens reader’s practice in reading rather than in providing invaluable information. He underlines that literature nowadays is deficient and insubstantial since there is no deep meaning in the texts. Modern printed literature is simply being skimmed through by the reader as the reader nowadays tends to avoid too much information resisting thinking in such a way. Because of the new nature of the printed materials, MacDonald considers today’s reading behavior and the way people think as flimsy and indifferent. I agree that our thought has definitively changed since we are paying less time to serious critical thinking losing connections with society and awareness of it.
Students may easily lose their attention and concentration with easy access to such incredibly rich store of information. With such new technologies as television, internet and social networks, people nowadays tend to multitask more often as they have easy access to a large amount of information. However, such easy access may sometimes be a distraction. Study “Your Brain on Computers” reports that heavy multitaskers perform up to 20% worse on most tests compared to performance of light multitaskers. Working efficiency of people, who multitask, is claimed to be significantly lower. The same is with concentration. (Crovitz 353) As a result, they are not engaged in working process. Students tend to be easily distr...

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...second using the search engine, people lose their motivation to read and the attention to think about the answer. (Crovitz 353) In Plato’s Phaedrus, Greek philosopher Socrates claims that people who get information without proper instruction as ignorant since they only conceit of the answer instead of the wisdom to find out and understand the answer. (Carr 341) With such access to information, we do spread information and expand human knowledge in a rapid rate. However, we lose our creativity, intelligence and the spirit of inquiry.
In conclusion, we see that the nature of printed literature has changed nowadays as well as the way of thinking. We are on the road of losing our concentration, awareness and serious thinking abilities. We are faced with such negative effects as cyber bullying and Internet manipulations. I think it is not the direction we should move on.

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