Tag Archives: Social Media

Why the modern world is bad for your brain

In discussing information overload with Fortune 500 leaders, top scientists, writers, students, and small business owners, email comes up again and again as a problem. It’s not a philosophical objection to email itself, it’s the mind-numbing number of emails that come in. When the 10-year-old son of my neuroscience colleague Jeff Mogil (head of the Pain Genetics lab at McGill University) was asked what his father does for a living, he responded, “He answers emails.”…We feel obliged to answer our emails, but it seems impossible to do so and get anything else done.

Before email, if you wanted to write to someone, you had to invest some effort in it. You’d sit down with pen and paper, or at a typewriter, and carefully compose a message. There wasn’t anything about the medium that lent itself to dashing off quick notes without giving them much thought, partly because of the ritual involved, and the time it took to write a note, find and address an envelope, add postage, and take the letter to a mailbox. Because the very act of writing a note or letter to someone took this many steps, and was spread out over time, we didn’t go to the trouble unless we had something important to say. Because of email’s immediacy, most of us give little thought to typing up any little thing that pops in our heads and hitting the send button. And email doesn’t cost anything.

– Daniel J Levitin

Levitin’s article is a well written journey through the impact of multitasking on our bodies and thus our productivity.

I have written about (and linked to) issues around the speed at which we live and the impact technology has on us. Email might not ‘cost’ us much in the way of financial resources but me thinks it is costing our society a great deal. Levintin claims that through multitasking we do not receive information into the best part of the brain for long term storage which in turn discourages deep thought and reflection. Cause for thought.

Read the full article here.

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The Art of Manliness


I read quite a few blogs regularly. Often links to articles on my favourites turn up in my musings. One blog that hasn’t had much attention from me on this blog is Art of Manliness (AOM).

As one can guess, the goal of AOM is to help men to be better at life. A noble aim indeed! If you have a few moments, have a look around their site. There is a bounty of useful material – from suggested manly reading lists through to how to properly sharpen an axe.

The article that I link to below is classic AOM – some simple suggestions to improve your Sunday.


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Filed under The Desired Life

Love stands in the middle

Our temptation is to stay on the outside.

To be Etic but not Emic. To attend endless conferences, read endless books, buy endless t-shirts. To dump cold water on our heads, take a selfie and hashtag it. To be about the latest ideas, like those on Mars Hill, to be waiting to see something new, like the newest post or picture online.

Ideas, when used this way, can be very self-indulgent. All the while, we remain outside the issue, and quite possibly, outside of our own story. But the great ideas – love, justice, intimacy, reconciliation – require something of us.

The people I see changing the world are doing it quietly.

– John Sowers

When I worked in Cairo, I was surrounded by good people with good intentions for the people living there. They had great ideas, great passion, but wha tmany of them couldn’t stand it seemed, was getting their hands dirty in order to see ideas and passions have an impact on people.

This article by John Sowers excellently sums up the situation we all face. If we want to have a tangible impact on the world we cannot ignore relationships. Relationships are the context in which the world can be changed for the better.

Sometimes the ideas we have aren’t actually that great or useful to the world. The positive impact on people’s lives is the measure and the test of a good idea.

To paraphrase an often quoted verse from the Bible, “If we do not have love, we are nothing but a loud noise”.

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I need to cut down on my social media

I have used this video in the past when teaching adolescents about using Social Media in a way that enhances wellbeing rather than having a negative impact. I came across it again today as I cleaned out an old hardrive and thought it was worth posting.


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Filed under The Desired Life


We’re skilled at saving time. But I can’t tell you how many shortcuts I’ve taken to get things done faster, only to end up on the couch scrolling through my social media feeds and eating spoonfuls of peanut butter from the jar.

Cadence Turpin asks whether the West’s desire for ever increasing productivity is really that healthy.


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Filed under The Desired Life