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The Dreams of Readers

What happens to us when we read? Nicholas Carr offers some provocative thoughts in "The Dreams of Readers." I don't always see eye to eye with Carr, but I found this post to be thought provoking and well worth a look.

"Books 'often live a vibrant life offline,' grants a Google executive, but they will be able to 'live an even more exciting life online.' Such views reflect more than just technological enthusiasm. Something deeper is going on. Society is growing ever more skeptical of the value of solitude. The status quo treats with suspicion even the briefest of withdrawals into inactivity and apparent purposelessness. We see it in the redefinition of receptive states of mind as passive states of mind. We see it in an education system that seems uncomfortable with any 'outcome' unsuited to formal measurement. We see it in the self-contempt of the humanities. We see it in the glorification of the collaborative team and the devaluation of the self-reliant individual. We see it in the general desire to make all experience interactive and transactional."

a good book


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 28th, 2014 03:07 pm (UTC)
"The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of the tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men." (Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead)
Apr. 30th, 2014 02:40 pm (UTC)
Yes! Very appropriate indeed!
Apr. 28th, 2014 04:23 pm (UTC)
Fascinating stuff...
Apr. 30th, 2014 02:40 pm (UTC)
I thought so, too!
Apr. 29th, 2014 10:36 am (UTC)
Disturbing, though not surprising. More and more, we "share" our every waking moment, putting the trivial on parr with the vital. Nothing is left private.

And as someone who has always needed a certain amount of solitude, I'll have nothing to do with this brave, new world." Or, I assume, it, me.
Apr. 30th, 2014 02:48 pm (UTC)
More and more, we "share" our every waking moment, putting the trivial on parr with the vital. Nothing is left private.

Very true. And disturbing!

I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater (which I think Carr sometimes does). I'm tremendously grateful to live in an age when I can carry hundreds of books in my purse with me (or, more to the point, digitize and read an old and obscure book electronically and save myself the asthma attack that the "real" book fibers threaten - an occupational hazard for a historian!).

Then again, perhaps one of the reasons I love using my e-reader so much is that I have all of the social/sharing options turned off!!! ;)

It is worrisome that a trend in our culture seems to suggest the only experiences that are worthwhile are those that are immediately and fully shared. Like you, I don't just enjoy a measure of solitude, I need it.

Edited at 2014-04-30 02:49 pm (UTC)
Apr. 30th, 2014 07:04 am (UTC)
thanks for the link :)
That was an interesting essay!
Apr. 30th, 2014 02:49 pm (UTC)
Re: thanks for the link :)
My pleasure! I'm glad you found it to be interesting, too.
Abbie Culbertson
May. 2nd, 2014 05:45 pm (UTC)
Fascinating post -- thanks for sharing it!

May. 3rd, 2014 01:20 pm (UTC)
You bet! I'm glad you thought it was interesting, too.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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