Self is taking a brief break before going back to her e-mails, her phone calls, her book (still Virgil’s The Aeneid: must weigh at least a pound, and she lugged it in her handcarry all the way from San Francisco, that is how much she loves it), her on-line class, and her writing. Of course, she bought a Wall Street Journal as soon as she got up this morning.
While toiling over what you are now reading, I scanned my three email accounts dozens of times and wrote a handful of emails; I responded on my cellphone to a score of text messages from my girlfriend and kids; I checked the balance of my bank account to see if a promised payment had arrived . . . and so on.
My own Internet usage feels compulsive, addictive. Which raises another matter posed by Mr. Carr: Are we really choosing these information technologies of our own free will, because they improve our lives? Our Blackberrys and Droids offer us infinite options, but such virtual freedom masks a deeper loss of control. Mr. Carr quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson’s aphorism: “Things are in the saddle/ and ride mankind.”
Wow. That’s a very very nice review. The Shallows sounds like a book that accurately depicts the splintering of self’s current reality.