WE HAVE BECOME NUMB
We live in an information age. Smartphone apps, cable news channels, emails, and dating sites are actively working to steal our attention through crafty (yet artificial) rewards, push notifications, and in many cases, opinion disguised as fact. This information age has created a scarcity of our attention, one where our success as problem-solvers, partners, and citizens is no longer dictated by the amount of information we have access, but rather, by our ability to comprehend, sort, and make sense of all of it. It can be overwhelming. At the same time, many of us are also seeking attention, mainly through our own form of “attention panhandling” on social media through selfies, likes, and echo chambers. Rather than tools used for productivity and authenticity, the screens in front of us have become our destination, holding our attention for hours per day at the expense of so many other parts of our daily lives.
In Numb, author Dr. Charles R. Chaffin outlines many of the challenges of this information age, including confirmation bias, FOMO, tribalism, choice overload, instant gratification, and a host of other unintended (and sometimes intended) consequences of this digital world. Numb answers:
· How do we use social media as a tool for deeper connections as opposed to our “social destination?”
· How do we extricate ourselves from many of our habits of distraction?
· How do we separate fact from opinion and substance from sensationalism to become better-informed voters and citizens?
· How do we make good choices when technology presents an endless supply of options?
· How do we remain compassionate when we are constantly barraged with images and videos of pain and suffering?
· What is the impact of selfies, porn, and outrage on our daily life?
Through interviews with over 60 therapists, researchers, and everyday people, Chaffin offers fun and thought-provoking ways that we can manage all of this information towards authentic and meaningful experiences. Ideal for anyone who’s been affected by today’s digital world, Numb will earn a place in the libraries of everyone who wants to use technology as a tool for empowerment, instead of a constant (and seemingly never-ending) distraction.