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Technology Is Decimating Reading and Sense of Self


Jeff Zod is an avid reader, writer and researcher. He enjoys exploring new and old concepts.

Girl reading book

Girl reading book

"Knowing others is wisdom. Knowing the self is enlightenment. Mastering others requires force. Mastering the self requires strength.

— Lao Tzu

Tech and Sense of Self

Technology has definitely made pour lives easier. While this is laudable, technology has a dark and unexplored side. I will shed light on this dark side. I will be drawing from my knowledge of philosophy, technology, and literature.

Technology has made information on almost anything available at the click of a button. Google and other search engines have made searching easy. For many, the convenience of searching for information is a blessing.

Ancient philosophers have grappled with the sense of Self. Some argued that we are connected to each other through some invisible thread. Others thought that were distinct beings with no sense of connection to others. However, they all agreed on the sense of Self.

Socrates contended that the goal of philosophy was to "Know thyself".

Sven Birkerts

I read books to read myself

— Sven Birkerts

Ih his book The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age, Birkerts feared that qualities such as awareness of history, privacy, and valuation of individual consciousness were in danger of erosion. He feared that our sense of the continuity of history, our place in the centuries and in the cosmos would be lost forever. These were elevated and safeguarded for a long time by print media.

The proliferation of e-books and the increased use of smartphones have led to the nosedive of print media.



“Literature holds meaning not as a content that can be abstracted and summarized, but as experience,”

— Sven Birkets

Birkets feels that as the importance literature diminishes, sustained reading and writing - products of a focused mind would also diminish, we would thus be unable to grasp our own depth and the breadth of the world.

The thought of such a loss is frightening and devastating for readers. Birkets feels the same way too.

Birkets reminds us that a life of reading and writing is possible and worthwhile.

Ten, fifteen years from now the world will be nothing like what we remember, nothing much like what we experience now,”

— Sven Birkets

I can not resist the allure of new technology. Technology has reduced the number of books I read at any given period drastically. I try as much as I can to read e-books.

E-books can never replace books though. A new book has an enchanting smell and a heavenly feeling. The magic of reading has been lost. We all need to occasionally put our devices down and pick up a book.

I plan to read at least two books a week.

We will be swimming in impulses and data—the microchip will make us offers that will be very hard to refuse.

— Sven Birkets

I feel like a deer caught in the headlights. I desire to read more and know every day. Technology, on the other hand, offers me a faster way to accomplish tasks.

I can still remember the days when computers and the Internet were a luxury to most people. The internet was a glorious thing that enabled people to play games, read emails and look up information. I was excited, and I am still excited about new technologies.

On the flip side, I am reading less.

Reading has helped me to know things about myself that have often surprised me. Reading enables me to look inward and outward at the same time. Reflecting on the past, the present and the future gives me numerous ideas.

According to Birkets books do not alleviate loneliness. The power of books lies in their ability to make us look inward and outward, at the same time. The communion we seek as we read is not with others but it is with ourselves.

© 2019 J Zod

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