How the Internet affects my right brain

Right brain, left brainThroughout college and seminary I noticed I was a little different than most of my classmates. Most of them would vigorously take notes, copying down word for word whatever the professor taught. If he put some bullet-points on a screen, its guaranteed that everyone would promptly replicate it in their notebooks, except me. For some reason my note-taking often looks like random thoughts scribbled in random blocks across the paper. If I want to connect two thoughts, I circle them both and draw a line between the two.

Likewise, in seminary we were given clay to play with as an example of the kinesthetic learner. As soon as the object lesson was over, everyone put the clay away and immediately took up pen and paper to start writing notes in a neat linear fashion. I, however, was the only one who continued to play with the clay throughout the entire class period. (The prof actually pointed me out at the end of class as a positive example, too. Apparently most seminarians aren’t kinesthetic.)

A couple weeks ago I posted a review on Shane Hipp’s book, The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How media shapes faith, the gospel, and church. In it he makes an interesting observation about the influence of the Internet and, having grown up with the Internet, I think he’s accurate.

The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel, and ChurchA book presents an extensive, in-depth monologue or a thorough argument carefully crafted in linear, successive paragraphs and pages (left brain). In contrast the Internet presents a nonlinear web of interconnected pages and a vast mosaic of hyper links with absolutely no beginning, middle, or end (right brain). (page 132)

I’ve been playing on the Internet for most of my life. Maybe this non-linear influence is part of why I prefer magazines and blogs over books. It’s also why my notes are randomly spread out over a sheet of paper “linked” with lines. Looks like my thought-formulating process has been significantly impacted by the web. Kinda scary how technology unintentionally influences us.

Posted on December 4, 2006

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