unHurry: Time to process

Do you have popcorn brain? If so, perhaps you need to take control of your online activities.

A CNN article looks at how we’re constantly drawn to the interwebs but need time to process. The constant stimulation of the internet, the ease with which we reach for our laptop or iPad or Blackberry, actually reduces the amount of gray matter (the thinking part) in our brains according to one study. Yet we’re drawn to the constant stimulation, the instant gratification of the Twitter Stream, Facebook News Feed, our email and instant messaging.

The CNN article offers some obvious responses to this addiction — yes, it does call it an addiction. It also suggests staring out the window, which I imagine is a bit less obvious to most Americans.

I’ve always enjoyed staring out the window. I loved having a 9th floor dorm room in college the looked over the entire campus. I would watch the sun set, people stream into the stadium for a football game or simply stare out into the dark before going to bed. I do the same thing, though to an unfortunately lesser degree, out of my home. Recently my wife, who has been increasingly cultivating her creativity over the past few years, admitted she didn’t used to understand why I did this, but from a creative point of view it’s making more and more sense to her.

It’s tough for us Americans to let our minds rest, or let ourselves think freely, uninterrupted. Even without the allure of the internet we’re a go-go culture that has a hard time being still — physically or mentally — for any length of time. I’ve never forgotten eating lunch with a PHD student in philosophy as a college student. We were talking about art and theology, and multiple times during the conversation he said simply “I have to think about that some more.” The phrase and idea with it stood out to me. That just wasn’t something I’d heard an American say before (Generally we have our opinions and don’t hesitate to blurt them out, no matter how well-formed or informed they may be.).

We need time to process. “The greatest thinkers in history certainly knew the value of shifting the mind into low gear.” unHurry yourself.

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About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at pcNielsen.com.

One Response to unHurry: Time to process

  1. Paul, I definitely agree with the need for artists to practice a great deal (draw etc.) and think ( long long ago and far far away our prof’s called it reflecting, or contemplating) deeply. It seems to me that popular contemporary art has become ever more superficial, while the artist is operating under the assumption that they are being thoughtful. I have often wondered if many have simply never learned to think deeply and thoroughly.

    Floyd Alsbach

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