Home > Spirituality > Why we need to practice formational reading

Why we need to practice formational reading


Homer Simpson's Brain

Most of us have been trained to read informationally rather than formationally and the internet has only accelerated this trend.

I have tried to journal with my computer and it does not work. As I type (versus write), I connect with a different part of my brain and/or soul.  That is why I have kept hand-written journals for some 30 years. An article by Nicholas Carr in the Atlantic explains how Nietzsche’s writings changed when he moved to a manual typewriter from writing by hand.

Imagine the change that would have taken place had he moved from the typewriter to a computer.  Carr argues in a new book, The Shallows, that the internet has affected our ability to read. In the article that discusses his new book, Carr seems to be addressing the ability to read  informationally but how much more has the internet affected our  ability to read formationally. Or to engage in spiritual reading.

In the June 3, 2010 article about Carr’s  book, The Shallows, the author writes

Carr has a suggestion for those who feel web surfing has left them incapable of concentration — slow down, turn off the Internet and practice the skills of contemplation, introspection and reflection.

Contemplation and reflection are at the heart of formational reading.  I guess I need to do a series of posts on formational or spiritual reading!

For now, I am going to go read a book!

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  1. June 4, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Funny. I’ve always felt the same way. I hate journaling on a computer, and I often feel that my writing is different when I write with pen and paper. Never knew there was actual research on the topic.

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