Twenty years ago, our average concentration span measured in at a massive 12 seconds, scroll two decades on and its now just 8.
in theory this means if you’ve got to the end of this sentence, you are either still interested in my thoughts or just have exceptional concentration. There are lots of theories as to why this drop has occurred and lots of postulation as to what it actually means. Technology is often demonised as the great social destroyer, many who participate in virtual worlds will argue it has allowed them to be part of something in a world that frequently finds ways to alienate them.
If concentration is so diminished then how are people able to spend hours in virtual worlds and scrolling through endless reels or indeed as someone I teach put it fall down the rabbit hole of YouTube for an entire weekend. It’s not that our minds are shut down at these times but our brains are being fed the equivalent of internet Pringles (everyone knows you can’t stop at one) and just as Pringles have a specific ratio of salt/fat/carbohydrate to make you want more the tech geniuses do the same with your mind, they create novelty & attachment, they create a sense that more is always better and frequently highjack your appetite for thought and reasoning.
Even the most rational people I know spend hours discovering health panaceas only to realise they haven’t left enough time to eat lunch and so back to the pringles they go… Its human to be seekers in life, seeking a partner, seeking a tribe, seeking a home and maybe even an adventure or two but its also human to question, to reason & to take time, the seasons demanded it, ever present threat demanded it, as a species we have found extraordinary solutions to challenges as we have been presented with them but previously we had more time to think, discern & actually concentrate.
Concentration like any other skill must be practiced but first identify what steals yours, its good for our minds to wander aimlessly at times, its good to daydream but watch out for those methods used to not only steal your precious time but your own thoughts and your energy, Pringles are great but they were never meant to replace real food, eaten slowly.
It doesn’t matter how much faster everything gets around us chewing over and digesting food and information still requires the same amount of time it always did. In reality when you try and eat as fast as the food, they are promoting, your lack of concentration might just see you choking.