Thursday, 20 January 2011

What Does the Internet Do to Your Brain?

The Internet is constantly messing with your head and is turning you into a mindless zombie that can't spell and needs help going to the toilet. Every second I spend typing this article I am losing on average 100 brain cells due to the Internet's sheer presence as well as my Wi-Fi point probably nurturing a tumour inside my brain. Physical deformities aside, what is the actual research being done to see how people's behaviours are changing due to the internet and how is your reading ability being impaired thanks to this article?

Current research suggests that the Internet is reforming the structure of our brains and changing the way we think. The thing that seems to be forcing some people into finding the nearest bridge and chucking their computer off is that, unfortunately, it could be slowly destroying our short-term memory. For example when I am writing this article, and flicking between my valuable sources of information, I don't actually have to remember any of it. On days I get very lazy I can even paste the info just below me so I don't even have to do that. Who needs short-term memory when I can get any of the information I need just as quick? I can let my brain worry about more complex things like wondering why I'm not doing proper work.

It's not all bad news. In a study done by the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behaviour at UCLA (boring name), they recently found out that out of the few old people that use the internet it can reduce the chances of them getting Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. By keeping your brain active online writing articles, making pictures, watching videos and chatting to your friends it may help keep your brain in a decent condition when everything else deteriorates. The brain is a muscle, which needs constant attention. Spending all day in front of your computer however won't help your obese face, and according to other studies the fact you are reading this article online means there is a high chance you are obese.

When it comes to Wi-Fi they are pretty certain it doesn't cause brain tumours or give you cancer. I am not a scientist but scientists think this so their opinion is more valuable than mine. Radiation is constantly passing through our bodies from space as well as radio waves and television waves. There have been no sharp increases in cancer or tumours during their introduction so there is no reason to panic in the short term. Long term it is probably the same but we shall see.

What does the Internet do to the sexual side of your brain? Porn addiction can happen but I think most men have been programmed to want to watch porn. The only difference is now we can watch it whenever we want. If men could watch porn all the time would they? Even though it's probably watched more this clearly isn't the case. Maybe watching porn is making men more sexually satisfied than ever or too much of it is making some of it boring? After doing a bit of research I found there are no conclusive studies on whether porn turns you into a homebound serial masturbator. I did find this article written by a student about porn addiction and the comments are quite interesting. They attempt to comprehend it better than I can. Here's a quote from a porn addict:

"hello, im 18 and have been addicted 2 porn for almost 5 years. I would like to make it perfectly clear to anybody intrested in pornography, thinking about it, curious, already doing it, that its not just some passing phase we all come across as we live life. Its not a fun little side job we do just to ease stress. Its not. And please, please, please, nobody think other wise. Pornography is evil. It destroys lives, loves, will, happiness. It robs it user of the true beauty of life we were all destined to live. Women become no longer the beautiful, caring, mothering, creatures they all truly are. Only sex. Only toys. To every women ever hurt by the poisen of pornography, I'm so sorry. When i first started, it seemed like a fun, new exciting adventure. I was so young but during each session and climax. I had experienced such unexplainable euphoria that i just couldent let it go. I was very lucky though. My habit was pretty calm and i would only do it a couple times a month if even that. "watch out for this"!!! when porn seems like something you need to know more about, turn off your fucking computer and do something else. Eventually the guilt started creeping into the cracks of my mind but for some reason i just ignored it. But as the months went by along with typical high school bs, my habit grew larger. I sought pornography to experience what i dident even realize was being taking away from me. After losing all faith and respect for myself, and dealing with terrible depression, im at a point were any normal sexual intrests i once had are becoming morphed into sick, twisted, ideas i wish would just go away. I do it about once a day but sometimes 2 or 3. Its the same thing every time. Excitement, fantasy, euphoria, immediate shame. I feel lik i belong in a prison. Im scared. A few weeks ago i tried to make contact with one of my old friends who i hadent seem in a really long time, just to catch up. We met up and talked for hours, it was fantastic, but than i realized how hot she looked. Before i knew what had happend, my old friend who i just wanted to talk to was now another hook up. I felt absolutly terrible. Since that night, she has not returned any of my calls or txts. I know what i did hurt her and it destroys me how much i destoryed such a great potential for another friend. I know thats why she doesnt talk to me. i almost cry just thinking about it ...but my point of this pathetic rant, is for anyone just getting into this whole thing, even if you think your better than it, even if you think you can control it, for the respect and empathy of the lives ruined by this monster, please dont do it."

As well as keeping your brain active in old age. it can help your multi-tasking skills since most people don't do one thing at a time on their computer. You will become super efficient at watching porn and writing articles at the same time, however it can't all be good. Long exposure to video sites that show short videos and articles will crush your attention span into a pulp. Facebook and Twitter help by forcing people to sum up their lives in short sentences. This can make reading anything more than a few lines at once, on the Internet, seem very boring.

The Internet does force a person to read more, which is good, but this is a different type of reading. Reading short articles, for your brain, is like walking on a treadmill. It will help you a bit but won't do much. Books on the other hand are an intense workout for the brain, such as sprinting on a treadmill with weights strapped to your legs and a mildly overweight middle-aged man on your back. If you want to get better at reading or writing don't spend all your time on the Internet. Reading books will help you much more!

Does the Internet make you more stupid? Well the real answer is probably not. If there was a quiz between the smartest person in the world and me on my laptop, with the Internet, I could probably compete pretty well if not win. The Internet is a fountain of knowledge where everyone in the world can put all his or her ideas into one big document to share. There may be a lot of bullshit online but the fact you can cross reference data with other sources so easily makes it simple to see if content is right.

The Internet will make you smarter, lazier and keeps your brain active. Only time will tell what all this porn, content and social networking will do to us. We can only hope for the best and that we don't turn into drooling, brain dead, tumour ridden porn addicts.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Chapter 1 - Why I Don't Understand Literature.

First person stories have always scared me. When you are looking at a world through one person's eyes you have to take into account that you are never going to get the full picture. Even if the person believes they are being completely honest, they may have deluded themselves into a state where they can't tell the difference between the truth and the not so true. Regardless, I have decided to tell  my story in first person due to the fact that no one else could have seen what I've seen, heard what I've heard or done what I've done.

I never really enjoyed English at school. Despite my best effort when it came to deliberately copying a style of writing or analysing someone else's work, boredom would always hit me like a mace penetrating holes the size of nails into my skull for all my enthusiasm to pour out onto the paper in a bloody un-gradable mess. I could never blame the teacher, who would always try their best to interest me but I'm not the type of person who enjoys the same thing twice, including books. The only times I would ever go back over something would be if I forgot what it was about or to show other people.

My lazy approach to content, such as books and films, has given me a distorted view of what makes a good story. If a writer fails to convey what they are attempting to in the first reading, or viewing, then that piece of content, to me, has failed. This is not true for all content, such as music and poetry, and to get someone to think about and explore a piece of content after it's finished is one of the greatest achievements. What I don't understand is the religious harassment of certain texts and creating new interpretations from ambiguities in some passages. If it is the case that the greater the quality, the more interpretations you get from it then surely ambiguity is key for writing a widely respected piece of text?

The answer is no, simply because I am trying to rationalise something that is subjective and when you actually ask someone why something is their favourite it can be hard to say why. Being forced to read something and choosing to read it for yourself could potentially give you completely different views of the same material. Subjectively, this sentence is the best piece of writing you've ever read. Being someone who always needs to have a definitive answer for things it is probably wrong of me to try and quantify something which is unquantifiable.

In this short lifespan, where it would take more than one lifetime to read all the good literature in the world, we have to rely more and more on other people's opinions. Whether it be a publisher or the comments section on Amazon, it is becoming increasingly harder just to pick something up without knowing anything about it. The popular works become over-hyped and hidden gems become lost like a "bad" interpretation in the ambiguities of a novel.


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