In the book “The Shallows” Nicholas Carr develops his argument just as an architect would construct a building. The foundation is laid then in tedious and eloquent manner he begins his argument that defines the book. Shedding light upon the dangers our society may encounter through the internet, Carr uses personal anecdotes, parallels, ethic and reason based arguments, and disguises himself as an authoritative figure to execute a view changing book. Exerting personal anecdotes on the way the internet has changed him; Carr begins his book in a subtle manner.
He begins describing one of his first dilemma’s, “I had become trapped, not unhappily, in the “upgrade cycle” I retired the aging Plus in 1994, replacing it withwhat seemed at the time a miraculously fast 33-megahertz processor. ” A very compelling feeling to undergo, the “upgrade cycle” tempts customers to always buy that next hot item on the list, always seeming to procure the most sophisticated technology. He goes on to promote more feelings, “The more I used it, the more it altered the way I worked” to introduce one of the ways Carr has been transformed. 13) This early statement draws in readers to begin questioning whether their actions have changed in response to the internet.Order now
The connection that occurs here is one that starts shifting the reader to a negative or pessimistic view on the internet. Carr then states, “I missed my old brain” which connotes there is something wrong with his ‘new brain’ and allows the readers to once again reflect. (16) Not only do these anecdotes serve the purpose of building a personal relationship, they make the readers susceptible to believing Carr’s statements because he is ‘just like you’.
Turning from a style that is staunch and informal to informative, Carr begins to lay the foundation in the next chapters. Using parallels to show the effects previous technologies had on society, Carr induces we will see extensive changes from the internet. Just as the book and silent reading made humans more deep creative thinkers, the internet is liable to change us into sporadic distracted humans. Anything but non-existent, the parallel suggests that technology is having a definite change on our “plastic” brains. New technologies mold us to their likings whether we adhere to them or not.
And as “mechanical clocks were not manufactured to spur the adoption of a more scientific mode of thinking” the internet is not intended to create more adverted, shallow thinking humans. But all behaviors prevailing show that it is. Acknowledging this fact, readers can either begin to challenge that their life is being changed or affirm the conclusion. This parallel is exactly the strategy needed to convince readers that it’s an “invention’s intellectual ethic that has the most profound effect on us. “Before entering the final crest of Carr’s gist,
After cutting through the forests of Carr’s logistics, we find his ethical arguments coming about. His digressions are the first major points, they provide a commonly perceived social norm that the author then breaks down and proves fallacies in. One that stood out the most, IQ scores being higher than ever before. Not only does he state that this is a misconstrued fact, he argues that the ethics behind using computers to increase our knowledge is ironic because it actually decreases our working memory which is proportional to our IQ.
Carr believes either that these numbers have come out of no-where or that there is some other source causing them. Carr also challenges the ethics that reading more is the way to produce deeper thinking, but points out, most of our reading now-a-days is mostly unconsciously “we glance at road signs, menus, headlines, shopping lists, the labels of products in stores” which are of brief duration and allow us to dwell only in the shallows. Is the fact that we literally have no time on our hands a source of this shallow behavior?
If you think about it, compared to back then where travel was restricted only by foot, how much more time people had at home. In today’s society it is unlikely that many of us have 2 hours of leisure time between our busy schedules. This contributes to the argument that Carr is making, we thrive on short bits of information because we have no time to read in depth, and without in depth analysis apart of our daily schedules, we cease to desire it.
Being engrained in our minds, the faster the information the better has become shown through mediums such as Facebook and Twitter. These social sites constantly renew with new status’ and updates occurring as fast as the eye can blink and pertain a limited character count that keeps the brain satisfied with its new craving. Not only does Carr want us to believe it because he has said it, he wants to articulate our beliefs with studies from numerous people.
This approach used disguises him as an authoritative figure that causes readers to be more liable to believing him. Everything Carr states is backed up with a study that ‘proves’ his point. After discussing how the internet is taking the place of CD’s, TV shows, and radio programs he brings up McLuhan’s Understanding Media which states “A new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in peace. It never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them. Not only does Carr want to introduce opinions to you, he wants to back them up with other opinions that support his, so in your aspect it seems as if this is true.
Affecting the subconscious, he delivers the supporting opinions that give readers the assurance what he is saying must be true. Carr, focused intently on, his subject, spreading his opinion, and warning us of our path to fulfilling “Kubrik’s dark prophecy”, ends his book on a vivid solution, when doing something; concentrate on being fully present in the activity even if it means putting up the cell phone or laptop.