Gary Small, a brain neuroscientist at the University of California, USA, believes that the function of the brain has changed more in the past 20 years than it has changed in the past few thousand years. In an experiment he did, when Internet pros and Internet rookies searched on Google, the former was very active in a specific area of the left front area of the brain, while the latter had little activity in this area. But after just 5 days of internet activity (1 hour a day), Google activated this area in their brains.
If the brain is so sensitive to the stimuli of an hour-a-day web search, and young people now spend an average of 11 hours a day on high-tech toys and devices, what happens to their brains?
A Stanford University study found that every hour we spend in front of a computer reduces our time spent interacting face-to-face with others in traditional ways by 30 minutes, and our social skills become clumsy. Experiments have shown that some young people even lose the ability to recognize emotions such as happiness and sadness after playing violent games for a period of time.
Digital technology is forcing our brains to learn how to process more information more efficiently, but something more profound to humans may be missing, such as the ability to think deeply, concentrate, communicate face-to-face, The ability not to be stimulated…
Wanderlust is one of the side effects of digital technology. As British author Alain De Botton said, it’s easy to forget what you’re doing when you’re sitting in front of a computer, because there’s always something more exciting or interesting than the job at hand.
Distraction has become an epidemic—a kind of cognitive “obesity.” We are constantly on the go, keeping track of everything, distracting attention from everything and everywhere. We are constantly scanning our surroundings, alert to the tiniest bit of new contact. Along with it is an obsessive “multitasking” where we want to be faster and do more at once, like putting the computer on the treadmill, working out while working out, and often texting while driving . It’s becoming less and less realistic to spend an hour doing just one thing.
Just like dieting, we should learn to control our brain’s craving for fresh stimulation. Focusing on one thing, similar to mental push-ups, can achieve the effect of losing weight in the brain. Perhaps, in addition to building muscles, the gym of the future will also perform brain exercises to teach people how to focus. Of course, there are also low-tech methods, such as meditation in Buddhism, which can make the ability of neurons in the prefrontal cortex to synchronize signals 30 times higher than ordinary people.
In daily life, a 20-minute nap can also refresh the brain and greatly improve concentration. Take a 60-minute nap for best results. You can also keep earplugs on hand to create a “stimulus shelter” for yourself when you’re in a noisy subway.
Rain can sometimes cause a touch of nostalgia. Li Shangyin’s “Night Rain to the North” was written for many long-time wanderers. One day, I went to the Lotus Pond with Dexi from the new campus of the United Nations University in the morning when I stayed a little while in the rain. After seeing the clear water in the pond and the stone statue of Chen Yuanyuan dressed as a bhikshuni (it is said that Chen Yuanyuan went to Yunnan with Wu Sangui and became a monk and died by throwing himself into a lotus pond in his old age), the rain began to fall again. There is a small street beside the lotus pond, and there is a small hotel. We walked in, asked for a plate of pork head and half a pound of wine (in a green-glazed earthenware cup), and sat down. It’s raining heavily.
There are several chickens in the hotel, all with their heads tucked under their wings, one foot on the ground, standing motionless under the eaves. There is a large wood fragrant flower in the hotel yard. There are many wood scented flowers in Kunming. Some small rivers are woody. But such a big woody incense is rare. A wood incense, climbing on the shelf, covered the yard tightly. The dense green leaves, the countless half-opened white flowers and the full-bodied flower buds were all drenched by the rain.
We couldn’t walk and just sat like that until the afternoon. Forty years later, I still can’t forget the emotion of that day, and wrote a poem: There are few pedestrians outside the lotus pond, and the moss marks in the wild shop are an inch deep. After a glass of turbid wine is noon, the wood fragrance is wet and rainy.
I miss the rain in Kunming.