Monday, June 20, 2011

I'd like to think that even if one disagrees with the conclusions of Carr's The Shallows, one can agree that it does a good job of laying out the argument for the negative effects of technology and the internet without coming across as being just another tirade of a curmudgeon or luddite. Me, I'm at least one, probably both those things, so I often worry that my shared distrust of the internet is a product of something fundamentally irrational. But Carr manages to take many of my concerns and really get to why they should worry the society at large.

What's sad is that he seems to have relatively few supporters in his own generation; mine is of course beyond hope, and the one after will most likely bring about our ultimate destruction. It's remarkable how quickly society seems to have totally embraced the internet, rightfully praising its conveniences but too quickly dismissing what it loses when compared to technologies past. (I can almost picture the book being nonchalantly sunk in my lifetime, for example.) Being of the generation that came of mental maturity at the same time the internet did, it's hard to say whether the seeds for this societal shift were already in place. Maybe it's a convenient myth that people used to care about deep reading and all that in generations past. The internet may just be allowing people to indulge in frivolities that they used to indulge in through other forms. Who knows, maybe I was on the fringes starting from childhood...

2 comments:

Chris said...

The twisted fringes of genius you do indeed lie upon. The sparse domain of souls interacting with advanced technologies is difficult to fathom. We give meanings to actions, we reveal our inner beliefs. What is a computer to you? Is the power of the internet undeserved or misunderstood? As Facebook expands its sinister enslavement and Google confronts its dark side, brave young warriors mark out their own majestic territory, among theme stackoverflow, Revolution Elite and the meme-rich reddit. Where do our hearts lie? Who will suffer the most in this binary battle? Ps. What's a book? It sounds boring...

Aditya said...

Souls interacting has a wonderful, characteristically Reidian ring to it, but I pessimistically suggest that it overstates the actual nature of most of what goes on in this furnace of lives. And to make clear if it wasn't in the original post, it would be foolish to suggest that resources like stackoverflow aren't useful. But it serves a very specific need for information. I feel like these successes have been taken to mean that the internet is the long-awaited solution to all of our needs; which may end up being true, but only because it is deadening our sense of what our needs really are.