Essay on Understanding Ourselves in the Age of the Internet

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Understanding Ourselves in the Age of the Internet In her book, Life on Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet, author Sherry Turkle explains the effect technology has on the way individuals view themselves, and how this relates to the growth of postmodernist thinking. According to Turkle, the rapid expansion of network technology, specifically the Internet, is responsible for introducing millions of people to new spaces and ways of interactivity with one another. This revolutionary method for relating to others is swiftly changing how we view our minds, our sexual interactions, the forms of our communities, and even our own identities (Turkle 9). In the excerpts selected for our class reading, Turkle cites Internet…show more content…
In its most basic form, however, modernism can be most closely associated with the traditional world-view dominant since the Enlightenment, and is described in terms of linearity, logicality, and hierarchical thought (Turkle 17). Modernist reality is perceived as definitive and objective, defined by a firm set of rules and roles that support a centralized narrative, or concept of truth. In this philosophy, the self is characterized as a solid autonomous being, our most basic reality, making it simple to identify and resist any departure from society's definition of normalcy (Turkle 261). Within the last forty years, a poststructuralist response developed to the modernist ideology and gained the official academic title, postmodernism. This philosophy serves as a direct contrast to modernism, embracing the idea of a decentered, multi-faceted self that consists of fragmented but coherent parts. There is no definitive truth to these interconnections, making reality and human identity fluid and capable of transitioning between numerous nonlinear concepts (Turkle 17). In postmodern reality, disjointed ideas receive meaning through their relationships to each other; the presence of thought becoming just as significant as what is noticeably lacking. The multiplicity of meaning and truth in the postmodern environment makes identity opaque, allusive, and dense, but also presents the opportunity for remarkable diversity.
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