Destruction of the Human Mind Essay

Submitted By brenz4020
Words: 1537
Pages: 7

Brianna Rodriguez
Professor Amanda Melchor
English 1302
09 October 2013
Destruction of the Human Mind Everyday technology is advancing and creating new methods that enhance society. Nicholas Carr, an American author publishes several books and articles primarily about technology, economics, and culture. In 2008, The Atlantic published one of Carr’s articles Is Google Making Us Stupid which provides insight to the internet and its critical effect on cognition. Like the title of his article proposes, Carr’s argument is that the internet may have effects on our brains that diminish our competence to concentrate and be able to reflect on what is being presented to us. Carr attempts to induce his readers by using a great deal of rhetorical appeals. Carr uses his figurative language, anecdotes from various acquaintances, and research acquired by scholarly individuals to convince readers that the internet and technology possess negative effects on society and our brains. Carr’s use of figurative language and imagery throughout his article help reinforce his argument, and allure his audience. “Dave stop. Stop, will you? Stop, Dave. Will you stop, Dave?” (Carr np) Carr inserts a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in which an astronaut decides to “disconnect the memory circuits” (Carr np) of the artificial brain that this human like supercomputer HAL possesses. Carr uses this scene as an intro to his argument in order to create some form of concern in his readers by illustrating what the future might hold for the human brain. He then transitions into his own personal experiences in which he believes “that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my [his] brain” (Carr np). He explains how his process of reading and level of concentration have been altered since the evolution of the internet. “I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text” (Carr np). He uses this metaphor to show the reader his difficulty of not being able to concentrate while reading a text, and having to physically bring his brain back to what he was reading. Carr continues to go on saying, “Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” (Carr np) The audience can come to the conclusion that Carr used to be submerged in a book and its meaning, and now after the influence of the internet he has developed “a form of skimming activity” (Carr np) and zips right over the importance of what he has read. Carr has used several types of figurative language to help create pessimistic mental images for the reader; however, he then contradicts himself when he goes on to state that “the web has been a godsend to him as a writer” (Carr np). If Carr would have left out the statements that contradict his beliefs it would enhance the strength of his argument by eliminating the uncertainty that could arise from his audience. Carr’s frequent use of anecdotes from literary acquaintances helps fortify his argument by appealing to his audience’s emotions. “I’m not the only one” (Carr np) he states, that believes the net is causing negative effects on reading. Bruce Friedman, a member of the faculty at the University of Michigan Medical School also agrees that the net is playing a huge role on “his mental habits” (Carr np). “I can’t read War and Peace anymore, I’ve lost the ability to do that” (Carr np). Friedman, a pathologist whose career depends highly on reading and understanding explains how the net has affected his ability to read, and comprehend even the shortest articles on the net. Just like Friedman, Scott Karp is another individual that agrees with Carr’s argument. “I was a lit major in college, and used to be [a] voracious book reader” (Carr np) and now Karp admits that he no longer reads books at all. Karp explicates how reading from the web has become more of a convenience to him rather than reading from actual books. When the audience reads the stories of these