Home > Society, Technology, Text Reflection > Text Reflection: The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

Text Reflection: The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

September 26, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Somethings are just plain obvious: the times have changed, we love our gadgets and we have all allowed the internet to change the way we live. This, of course, is known. Is it bad though? Do we risk some deeper damage by using the internet and swath of devices which flood and fill our homes?

In The Shallows, Nicholas Carr suggests the obvious: our brains are being altered by technology. Is anyone stunned? Are we throwing gadgets out the window? Carr avoids asserting a solution to this problem and instead chooses to provide a judgment-free observation.  There is no gloom and doom here; instead its a glimpse at some growing dark clouds. Yes we see things changing but is it significant? Are such changes for the better or do they beckon something dangerous and risky? In The Shallows Carr cannot assist us in these questions- this is a text of simple observation.

One has to wonder whether Carr’s publishers stepped in when deciding the title. Did Carr refuse to use a panic-laden title and, in response, did his publishers add in a sizzling subtitle hinting at brain damage via technology? Are we victims to some ploy of publishing? One has to wonder because this book fails to address the major claims that line its face. Inside its author seems dead-set on downplay. Indeed beyond the book, the author’s statements gradually re-calibrate the book’s focus more in line with what’s been written.

The Shallows only value comes in its overview of technological development in history. Additional posts will follow based on the material mentioned in the text. The Shallows provides another road map through technological development and offers once again the guiding lights that moved the initial experimentation into the modern world of constant use and obsession. Carr reminds us of these changes, but we’ve known it all along. Each of us can testify to technologies major effects on our lives. Did we even wonder whether our brains were being altered? Did we ever need to wonder? If such changes are beyond our control what more can we do? Do we worry as Carr’s publishers seem to ask or do we sit back and watch it happen just as Carr and his text appear to do?

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