This blog is contributing to the death of long-form reading, and I feel guilty.

  • Long-form reading: a lost art. The exposition of great ideas having time to develop as you consume them, to spark the imagination, to draw non-trivial comparisons. Our whole culture is moving towards short-form. The twitter-generation is exacerbating the problem. As is this blog. :(

Reading long-form works (fiction, non-fiction, editorial, expose, you name it) is a dying art. Much has been written about the death of long-form writing (in particular the flailing journalismjtwit industry). But the origin of this is the death of long-form reading. The constant partial attention promoted by today’s ubiquitous connectedness has yielded a Twitter-Generation that eschews patience in favor of shallow information.

Reading lengthy works exercises a whole different part of the brain. A great book, magazine article, or essay tickles the imagination. It meanders through your conscious and sub-conscious less like a quick-hit shot of Starbuck’s espresso and more like a fine scotch, straight-up, nursed gently for a slow hour. There is a natural rhythm to good long-form writing. The same rhythm that a compelling speaker or preacher exploits. It provides moments for pause, for ideas to sink in. It allows your brain to wander to related ideas, to harken back to earlier in the work, draw your own connections and conclusions.

Only consuming short-form information will atrophy that other part of your brain. I truly believe a whole generation is at risk of growing up without being able to think critically on a large-scale because of this phenomenon. It’d be like training for a marathon by running 100-yard dash 3 times a day. You’ll never get there.

I know. This short-form style blog is part of the problem. I know. I’m sorry. You wouldn’t be reading this entry if it were 10x as long, would you?