Kim on Carr on How Our Tools Shape Us

Joseph Kim at Second Nature quotes Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains:

Over the last few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain…. I used to find it easy to immerse myself in a book or a lengthy article. My mind would get caught up in the twists of the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore…. What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I’m online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles (5–7).

Here’s Kim on Carr—a helpful rephrasing of what you just read:

What Carr described is what [Marshall] McLuhan expressed in “the medium is the message.” Carr did not sit down to consider intellectually the nature of knowledge and information, weigh alternative approaches to its acquisition and meaning, and then develop a new practice in keeping with his contemplation. What he did was simply use the internet. And it was not the “content” of the internet that led to the change, it was the result of a formation which took place through the use of the medium itself. The medium itself changed the pattern of Carr’s thinking (indeed, the thinking of many in our day).

Read the whole article.

In noncompliance with Internet law no.113, I read the entire I article linked to above.

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

Leave a Reply