A Relativist’s Concern

Much of Carr’s concern in the assigned passages related to the kinds of tasks which human brains are “good” at and the way in which our actions change which parts are good at what. For example, he spoke of time spent on the internet as activating problem solving-type centers in our brains and time spent “deep reading” as activating the sensory portions of our minds. He went on to discuss how reading on the internet (hypertext, as he called it) is destroying our ability to indulge in deep reading. Carr takes great efforts to convey the idea that A) internet reading is neurologically changing the way our brains process information and B) changing it for the worse (suggesting that this kind of reading embodies the “reversal of the early trajectory of civilization”).

While there is a wealth of scientific evidence which supports the former point, the latter however seems to be a matter of perspective. New forms of communication change the way our neurological processes work, this is an accepted fact that has been shown time and time again. As repeatable is the trend of critics of the day warning that this new technology will reverse the foundations of society. While there is a pragmatic view which can analyze the experimental benefits and drawbacks of living in a society where electronic communication has entirely eclipsed print media, it is buried beneath rhetoric and inflammatory language, warning about the breakdown of the human psyche as we know it. I would posit that there is no purpose in concerning ourselves with the impact of some particular technology on the nature of human being or understanding, as society will progress, readjust, and find a balance. I would not want to live in the world of 500 years in the future, just as Shakespeare would not have wanted to live in the world of today. The purpose of the future is not to be one in which we would want to live; the future is not something designed with a purpose, it simply is. But regardless of any new communication medium, technological development, or cultural movement, society inevitably changes, adapts, perseveres, and finds a way to flourish.

By shackler2013

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