Non si leggono più libri (ma si legge tutto il resto)

550412-Books-1368750653-758-640x480Non si leggono più libri, pare. Il ministro della cultura francese ha detto di non riuscire a leggere un libro da due anni, sommersa com’è da testi legislativi, e di non ricordare un’opera del Premio Nobel Patrick Modiano. Allora il Guardian, per la penna di Rihannon Lucy Cosselett, ne approfitta per la solita intemerata contro la vita iper-connessa:

It’s a question of time, we say. Yet we make time for other things: binge-drinking, arguing on Twitter, the X-Factor. The internet in particular is frequently blamed for the death of the novel. It changes the way we read: we scan, trying to pick the diamonds from the detritus, flitting from one page to the next. Our attention spans are frazzled. Researchers say we are developing new, digital brains that are eclipsing the deep reading circuitry that has formed over millennia. This kind of reading feeds our imaginations and in them, we create people and places and experiences, in what Will Self described beautifully, as a kind of telepathy. It’s not that the internet is making us stupid, but that we’re losing what comes with that deep reading: immersion, relaxation, escapism.

I’ve always viewed reading as a form of self-improvement. As with travel, you discover new worlds and ideas, become richer, more knowledgeable, and hopefully more empathic; a better human. But if, as a society, we have abandoned this kind of self-improvement, what does it say about us? We live in a self-improvement culture, with many of us relying on meditation apps to gain some kind of “headspace”. Download this app and on your lunchbreak, instead of doing what you usually do – curling up in the staff room next to the radiator in the hope of a short nap – make a few clicks and you might reach nirvana.

Non che non ci siano delle verità, in ciò che scrive Cosslett. Ma il discorso è, ovviamente, molto più complicato che dare la semplice colpa ai messaggini di Whatsapp. Forse che c’entri anche il cambiamento nella visione di cosa siano i veicoli della cultura, dello svago o dell’informazione?