Thursday, April 2, 2015

In Praise of Depth

By Pascal Dennis

Our cell phones, pads etc. are miracles.

They bring the world to our fingertips -- and project our nervous systems around the world.

But Marshal McLuhan taught us that new media have a corrosive effect on existing structures and mental models.

We've already seen the new media's effect on structures: Eastman Kodak is only one of many famous names that have been obsolesced.

But are the new media affecting how we think? In particular, are we in danger of losing important thinking patterns?

Yes and yes.

The biggest potential casualty, in my view, is depth.

Depth of feeling, depth of understanding, depth of experience.

I love my cell phone and pad. I use them to connect with people, places and ideas.

But then I turn the damned things off.

I want to be present for that chat with my daughter.

I want to feel, sense, intuit, and test what my guitar teacher is teaching.

I want to experience Homer, Cervantes, and Tolstoy as completely as I can. I want to be as deep in their world as I can be.

That's why I believe books will always have a place in our world.

Because that's all they are -- books.

When bored or distracted, I can't suddenly check my email or go surfing on Amazon, or check out the hockey scores.

Lean, too, is about depth -- depth of understanding, commitment, reflection, and practice.

If we're serious, we'll turn off the damned screen, so we can have a chance at what some people call deep practice.



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