And this is why you should take showers. Last week I had an epiphany… well, not really an epiphany, but a good idea. “They” say, whatever you do online (blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), be yourself. Do what is authentic, for you. What is this for me?
I love philosophy and YA lit; thus, the new direction of my blog. I will be blogging about the intersection of philosophy and YA lit, primarily paranormal and dystopian.
If you have not read M.T. Anderson’s Feed, you should do so now.
I’m waiting… Are you done?
I suppose you can read on, it just won’t be the same.
Okay, so Anderson writes this amazing dystopian book, which is a thought experiment as to what might happen if the internet was implanted in the brain and ran through the nervous system shortly after birth.
Imagine for a moment you no longer need any external gadgets. Your computer, cell phone, alarm clock – ALL OF IT – is inside you.
I bet you’re thinking about all the great stuff, right? Well, it turns out this kind of access feeds our natural tendencies to care primarily for our baser desires (think entertainment 24/7). This, in turn, leads not only to the destruction of the planet due to over consumption, but to impoverished lives.
I love Feed because it clearly helps the reader see there is more to human happiness than technology can provide. In fact, if we aren’t mindful and careful, our tech leads away from happy lives.
Virtues are acquired powers that help us perform morally excellent actions with relative ease. The four cardinal virtues are wisdom, courage, justice, and moderation. It’s clear to just about anyone who thinks about this for a few moments that virtue is a necessary condition for the good life. Since we want to flourish, we need the virtues.
Let’s suppose you aren’t an actually virtuous person (few are!), but are working on it. Find someone with practical wisdom and see how she approaches technology. How does the wise, just, courageous, and moderate use technology? How does she find the golden mean between the excess of using it too much and the defect of not considering it at all?
M.T. Anderson’s book shows, if we are courageous enough to look, what happens when we get what we think we want. It turns out only the immature and empty want a life on the feed. And that’s all the feed can offer. Spoon feeding babies.
The feed promises pleasure, but everyone ends up being bored and dissatisfied. Why? The feed takes away creativity, curiosity, concern for and awareness of others, the serious business of life, and the possibility for satisfying human relationships.
But don’t you want more of these things? I do. In our age, this means we must be aware of the technology we use, so that we can use it and not have it use us.
In the weeks, months, and years (?) to come, I will explore philosophical themes in YA lit in areas such as philosophical anthropology (human nature), epistemology (theory of knowledge), metaphysics (questions of ultimate reality), philosophy of art, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, ethics, political philosophy, and much more.
Hope you come along on this new journey with me!
*(As a general principle, whenever possible, agree with Aristotle. Let this be your first lesson in philosophy!)