I work on my computer which can be challenging because it's my veritable box of distraction. There's this blog, my multiply, facebook, favorite parenting sites, other blogs-of-note that I click on regularly. Plus all the magazines and newspapers on-line. I have a tab on Safari just for those - from Salon, The New York Times, to The Guardian, just to name a few. It's wonderful really, but also crazy... like my head could explode crazy.
So of course when my friend Jam calls my attention (via facebook, hello!) to an article from New York Magazine called In Defense of Distraction I am so clicking on it. Well, it was worth the few minutes of uhmm.. distraction. An excerpt:
The truly wise mind will harness, rather than abandon, the power of distraction. Unwavering focus—the inability to be distracted—can actually be just as problematic as ADHD. Trouble with “attentional shift” is a feature common to a handful of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and OCD. It’s been hypothesized that ADHD might even be an advantage in certain change-rich environments. Researchers have discovered, for instance, that a brain receptor associated with ADHD is unusually common among certain nomads in Kenya, and that members who have the receptor are the best nourished in the group. It’s possible that we’re all evolving toward a new techno-cognitive nomadism, a rapidly shifting environment in which restlessness will be an advantage again.
So neuroscientists think we are evolving into humans that can sift through more information than ever before - even if delivered fast and simultaneously. They predict our children will develop capacities such as "a sense of the way ten projects all dovetail into something totally new." Those ADHD tendencies may actually come in handy. Hmm... another thing to keep in mind as a 21st century parent. These are theories of course, but still I'm tabbing them into my head.
So what is focused distraction and why is techno-cognitive nomadism not exactly multi-tasking? What does this have to do with meditation and Buddhism? Answers in the full article.
Or may I distract you with the question: What if your kids went to Camp Michael McDonald? Just for some 46 seconds of laughter. Confession: I watched this about 8 times while trying to finish this post. Distractions, distractions....
See how New York Magazine, neuroscience, Buddhism, The Doobie Brothers and Conan O'Brien all dovetailed into this one blog post? Is it too late for my 30-plus-year-old brain to evolve?