Is learning hard? Is Chorost wrong when he says “instant learning” is not possible? Cathy Davidson (Now You See It, 2011) thinks our brains are simply waiting for us to catch up.
“Apparently, neurons just can’t abide being bored. The mind always wanders off task because the mind’s task is to wander.”
Marcus Raichle, in exploring the brain’s “default mode network” (the brain at rest), has discovered that 80% of our neural energy is taken up “not by external distractions at all but by the mind talking to itself” (quoted in Davidson). As Davidson puts it: “the brain wants to be distracted.”
This leads us into the murky area of the unused capacity of the brain and Davidson’s focus on attention as a means of more productive and collaborative learning. While we know the idea that we only use 10% of our brain is a myth, perhaps we don’t know how to use all of it effectively.