Ever been in the midst of conversation and just flat out disappear? Sure you maintain basic eye contact, the postural confirmation that you are listening, and maybe even the obligatory head nod or well-placed affirmative grunt, but you are somewhere deeper inside your head. It’s that multi-task moment, when you are scanning a website while grabbing just enough relevant conversation to appear present, or perhaps you are mid-text message as your friend is speaking about their latest career accomplishment.
We are supposed to be an evolved species, an animal with a neural network faster than the most powerful computers, conscious minds comprised of millions of electrical circuits, and yet, we cannot process two thoughts at the same time. Attention requires…well…attention. Without heating up, my laptop runs Word, itunes, Final Cut, and Safari.
Lately I’ve been studying metacognitive mapping. In short, it teaches how to educate ourselves using both sides of the brain. The process mainly focuses on memory and learning, although there may be dual processing applications in time. For now, it involves spatial awareness, color, informational structuring, and re-teaching, which frankly, are a bunch of confusing phrases that could be easily re-termed Draw Pictures.
Perhaps the next evolutionary phase includes an ability to multi-task with cognitive awareness. Or maybe we’ll always be stuck with these single-track minds. The point here is that I’m going to start a mutual fund for investment in carpal tunnel clinics for all these physically-present-but-mentally-absent kids growing up banging away on laptops and cell phones. Opposable thumbs are a hell of a gift and we seem to be wearing them out.