The Shallows By Nicholas Carr

1189 WordsSep 28, 20175 Pages
Nicholas Carr covers an unprecedented amount of material in his novel, “The Shallows.” He delves into subjects ranging from the history of the book to the business of Google to the psychological concept of neuroplasticity. All of these topics support his main argument: the idea that the internet is destroying our brains. He takes the deterministic approach that we are the tools we use, meaning they shape our brains. According to Carr, the internet negates our memories, deems print books useless, and distracts us from reality. His counterargument comes from the instrumentalist approach; this viewpoint maintains that people stay the same no matter the tools they use. His arguments are both sound and flimsy, current and outdated, and he rants…show more content…
Picking up a cell phone, however, does not change the user. Maybe someone is just using it to make a phone call or check their email. Either way, I do not believe the internet is inherently dangerous, it can be abused just as anything else can. The next point, neuroplasticity, receives its own chapter in “The Shallows;” I think this was an unnecessary choice on Carr’s part. I have been repeatedly taught that the brain is plastic. I have never once questioned it being anything else. The need he felt to go in such depth with the topic is what makes me think this book’s ideas are outdated. What he took twenty pages to explain could have been summarized in two. Also, he uses the concept to create an incredibly dark picture of the world. The idea that we can be changed unwillingly is not a kind one; it takes away choice. He makes it seem like we do not choose to pick up our cell phones, but are forced to by our own, hungry brains. Even while writing this essay, I have my phone next to me. It is not because I need it, but because someone could need me, or I may just want a break. As long as people are still getting their responsibilities done, there is no harm in a little technology. Carr’s next rant is on books. He takes the reader through the history of the modern book and how it is still changing. He makes claims that reading an eBook uses different skills than reading a paper book, that the days of becoming immersed in a novel are
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