When I was younger, LOL! meant “Lots of Love.”
Now it means “Laugh out Loud.”
The change happened sometime during that period where I was frantically trying to catch up with the X’ers and Y’s, who were leading the charge into this high tech social media age we now live in.
Why it happened, I have no idea. Surely X’ers and Y’s still like to send love to each other, however I find the thought that they might rather laugh at each other rather than love each other slightly disturbing. That’s not all I have found disturbing recently.
In an article recently published in the Sydney Morning Herald, it would appear that a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the net, (with its constant distractions and interruptions) is turning us into scattered and superficial thinkers.
Nicholas Carr, author of the recently published book The Shallows: How the Internet Is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember was inspired to write the book after he realised that he was losing his own capacity for concentration and contemplation. This is something I’ve noticed myself. Apparently, when we’re constantly distracted and interrupted, as we tend to be when looking at the screens of our computers and mobile phones, our brains can’t forge the strong and expansive neural connections that give distinctiveness and depth to our thinking. Our thoughts become disjointed, our memories weak. The Roman philosopher Seneca may have put it best 2000 years ago: ”To be everywhere is to be nowhere.”
This has been further researched in a number of studies on students who use their computers during lectures and have a much lower retention rate than those who don’t, and also in multi-taskers, who seem to be absolutely hopeless! German researchers found that web browsers usually spend less than 10 seconds looking at a page. Even people doing academic research online tend to ”bounce” rapidly between different documents, rarely reading more than a page or two, according to a University College London study. Such mental juggling takes a big toll. In a recent experiment at Stanford University, researchers gave various cognitive tests to 49 people who do a lot of media multitasking and 52 people who multitask much less frequently. The heavy multitaskers performed poorly on all the tests. They were more easily distracted, had less control over their attention, and were much less able to distinguish important information from trivia.
So what to make of all of this?
I think is important to keep up with the latest technologies… there’s just too much of great value to be gained from a discerning use of the net. However, we need to do this in a way that doesn’t lose touch with our capacity for deeper, more contemplative and reflective introspection carried out without the pressure to find the answer quickly.
20 minutes of Meditation each day will meet this need wonderfully.
In the meantime, we need to carefully monitor the use of the new technology on ourselves, but just as importantly… Live, Love, and Laugh out Loud each day.
So LOL to you all.
I’d love to hear what you think about all this. Please leave your comments below.
StJohn Miall is the co-founder of Keep Evolving, an organisation the facilitates Leadership and Personal Development Programs that has it’s focus on the development of Wisdom, authentic Power and Compassion. His focus is on the design and delivery of programs to both the corporate sector and the general public with particular focus on deeper, developmental work, supporting the ongoing building of emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence, coaching, leadership and personal development.
StJohn is an expert guide in the gentle practice of Meditation and its use by those wishing to explore their own inner landscape.
With over 25 years of training experience, StJohn has a wealth of experience to call on both in the design and delivery of transformational programs. He is known for his easy style and ability to make the complex simple and easy to grasp.
Along with his wife Alexia, he facilitates ’Meditate for Life’ and eight week program run in Sydney to learn all about meditation and how to establish a regular meditation practice. StJohn and Alexia also Facilitate the ‘Take a Stand for Life’ residential program held at Bundanoon which is specifically for people looking to further develop their skills for a meaningful and fulfilling life. You can find out more about StJohn’s activities when he’s not at Quest, by visiting the Keep Evolving website.