Prepara que lá vem texto.
Descobri no Qapture (não me canso de agradecer a BigSpaceship. Até enviei um email pro Lebowitz agradecendo e ele não respondeu) uma reportagem fodassa da revista de domingo do New York Times chamada “In defense of distraction”. É foda porque aborda o conceito de “multitasking and cognition” a partir da uma entrevista com David Meyer, o mais conceituado pesquisador desta seara da neurociência. Esta entrevista aconteceu em seu escritório, na Universidade de Michigan, logo após retornar de uma viagem à Índia, onde participou de uma conferência com o Dalai Lama sobre a natureza da atenção. Só para você ter idéia de como o cara é foda, sua palestra defendia que os monges tibetanos fazem múltiplas tarefas durante a meditação! Bem, se você não achou isso foda, eu tenho pena. Adiante.
A matéria começa com uma citação de Herbert A. Simon, um “polimath economist” (minha ignorância matemática impede a tradução), datada de 1971:
“What information consumes is rather obvious: It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.”
Aí o autor da reportagem reclama um pouco da chiadeira em cima da distração e das possíveis consequências que isso acarretará:
“This doomsaying strikes me as silly for two reasons. First, conservative social critics have been blowing the apocalyptic bugle at every large-scale tech-driven social change since Socrates’ famous complaint about the memory-destroying properties of that newfangled technology called “writing.” (A complaint we remember, not incidentally, because it was written down.) And, more practically, the virtual horse has already left the digital barn. It’s too late to just retreat to a quieter time. Our jobs depend on connectivity. Our pleasure-cycles—no trivial matter—are increasingly tied to it. Information rains down faster and thicker every day, and there are plenty of non-moronic reasons for it to do so. The question, now, is how successfully we can adapt.”
O autor aborda as evoluções tecnológias que permitem estudar o cérebro:
“Only in the last ten years—thanks to neuroscientists and their functional MRIs—have we been able to watch the attending human brain in action, with its coordinated storms of neural firing, rapid blood surges, and oxygen flows. This has yielded all kinds of fascinating insights—for instance, that when forced to multitask, the overloaded brain shifts its processing from the hippocampus (responsible for memory) to the striatum (responsible for rote tasks), making it hard to learn a task or even recall what you’ve been doing once you’re done.”
“Over the last twenty years, Meyer and a host of other researchers have proved again and again that multitasking, at least as our culture has come to know and love and institutionalize it, is a myth. When you think you’re doing two things at once, you’re almost always just switching rapidly between them, leaking a little mental efficiency with every switch. Meyer says that this is because, to put it simply, the brain processes different kinds of information on a variety of separate “channels”—a language channel, a visual channel, an auditory channel, and so on—each of which can process only one stream of information at a time. If you overburden a channel, the brain becomes inefficient and mistake-prone. The classic example is driving while talking on a cell phone, two tasks that conflict across a range of obvious channels: Steering and dialing are both manual tasks, looking out the windshield and reading a phone screen are both visual, etc. Even talking on a hands-free phone can be dangerous, Meyer says. If the person on the other end of the phone is describing a visual scene—say, the layout of a room full of furniture—that conversation can actually occupy your visual channel enough to impair your ability to see what’s around you on the road.”
“You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star”