Tuesday, March 27, 2007

ADD Society

My friends complain that their kids have ADD. One of my in-laws says that she has ADD, which is only an excuse for her nonsense. What is "ADD"? Attention Deficit Disorder. In this country, they actually treat it as a disease, and prescribe medication for it -- including to small children.

But what is ADD, really? IMHO, simply a consequence of the world we live in. Ever tried watching TV news, when you have the journalist speaking, info scrolling at the bottom of the screen, captions for hearing impaired and headlines at the top? All you get is flashes, while your intelligent brain is prevented from concentrating. Meaning: gulp it up and surtout, don't think it through.

And what about those roller moms on the beach, pushing their baby strollers with the dog attached and their ipod on, while checking their blackberry and trying to keep their caffe latte steady? Or drivers on their cells while checking their computers in heavy traffic?

That is ADD. Not a disease, but a symptom of our times: high-speed, too much "information" coming out of too many channels, too many things to do at the same time, no time to concentrate on anything.

Wired magazine has an interesting article on the subject of ADD-friendly Snack Culture in its March issue -- welcome to the world of minifestos and bite-size entertainment. Meanwhile, the NYT debunks the multitasking myth [review in Boing Boing].
illustration Eddy Guy/Wired