Jason Hillenburg’s Reviews > Intelligence in the Digital Age: How the Search for Something Larger May Be Imperiled by Lyn Lesch
Jason Hillenburg‘s review
Lesch claims in the book’s acknowledgements that the work’s subject matter doesn’t yet entirely exist in the modern world. Such a statement, much of the time, is outright puffery. Lesch, however, isn’t empty braggadocio. “Intelligence in the Digital Age” addresses head on, over eleven chapters, the disruptive effect the digital world today has wrought on learning and consciousness at a fundamental level. There is, perhaps, a tendency some readers will have to dismiss Lesch’s concerns as somewhat Luddite or alarmist in nature – that the deleterious effects on consciousness and learning are personal choices rather than unavoidable consequences of immersion in the digital landscape.ABOUT THE AUTHOR: www.lynlesch.com
Perhaps, to a certain extent, the latter is true. The former is not as Lesch readily admits the positives our Brave New World has opened for us. Lesch makes a strong argument though that, despite our best efforts, the very nature of the digital world has inescapable effects on the intellect that are cumulative and increasingly destructive. The vigorous forceful prose utilized to make this point is consistent throughout the book, even when he reorients his focus, and the well chosen research underpinning his arguments lends further strength to the book’s arguments. The neuro-scientific evidence he presents is not fly by night. It is the result of years of evidence based theorizing borne out through practice rather than ideas free floating through the intellectual ether.
He wraps his ideas about consciousness and the digital world together with increasing seamlessness as the book progresses cumulating in the final chapter about consciousness in cyberspace. These final thoughts offer readers an emphatic exclamation point for everything preceding it while still avoiding a strident note as Lesch manages through the ten earlier chapters. It is a testament to Lesch’s talents as a writer that he presents such a powerful document in far less than two hundred pages; it is a book where the author knew exactly what they wanted to say and how to phrase it. This level of confidence is one of the essential ingredients making “Intelligence in the Digital Age: How the Search for Something Larger May Be Imperiled” one of the more important books written and published about life and learning in the digital age.
A Review from MobYorkCity
Intelligence in the Digital Age: How the Search for Something Larger May Be Imperiled by renowned educator Lyn Lesch is a brief book, but he manages to cover an enormous amount of theoretical territory in less than two hundred pages. It scarcely does his book justice to describe it as such, but the central thesis underlying Intelligence in the Digital Age is that the Internet and social media has undercut our neurological skills in significant ways and those negative consequences have even affected the nature of human consciousness in our modern world. It is Lesch’s fifth book and arguably his greatest work. In some ways, Intelligence in the Digital Age feels like the end result of the dozen years Lesch led the Children’s School he founded in Evanston, Illinois. One can easily imagine this work as a by-product of the observations he made during his tenure directing the school.
It does not stop there however. Lesch backs up his ideas with ample research, but the bulk of the book hinges on Lesch’s reasoning rather than relying on the aforementioned research. Lesch proves himself a lucid thinker throughout the whole of Intelligence in the Digital Age and, even if you disagree with a silver of his conclusion, you cannot argue he fails to make a strong case for his point of view. The neuroscientific evidence he harnesses in support of his points are extensive, but some may disagree outright with the seeming absolutism creeping in about the drawbacks he sees inherent in the digital age. Yes, many become addicted to the dopamine rush of technological engagement, but many do use the Internet in responsible fashion and experience no such drawbacks.
He is a polished writer, naturally, and his far reaching authorial experience takes full flight in this text. Lesch has a manner of writing about academically slanted subjects in an accessible fashion many other writers undoubtedly would envy. Intelligence in the Digital Age never reads like a stiff academic text; instead, it reads like an intelligent study with academic overtones. He quotes freely from academic, philosophical, and literary sources alike. The variety fueling this book is one of its chief strengths.
Another of its strengths comes from Lesch’s obvious investment in the topic. While Lesch never figuratively beats his chest in name of the “cause”, it is clear throughout Intelligence in the Digital Age that Lesch is a passionate advocate for the book’s topic. He has a sincere and human desire for readers to examine the topic at hand with the same seriousness he pays to the topic. The intellectual slant of the work never precludes Lesch from speaking with an impassioned voice without ever losing the unimpeachable reason and logic running throughout the work.
Intelligence in the Digital Age: How the Search for Something Larger May Be Imperiled certainly isn’t trusting of the digital world and its blandishments, but Lesch isn’t skeptical without reason. He offers ample justification, through both sheer rhetorical force and research, for why our world should exercise caution treating the digital age as the dawning of a new model for living. It’s a book well worth any serious thinker’s attention.