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[Xmca-l] Re: Paul Mason's comment on how ebooks are changing writing

Hi Annalisa and Larry,

This is an issue that has been very much on my mind recently, one that I think will help define "digital tools" going forward (digital tools seems too broad and too specific a sign at once and lately I have been wondering if it will begin to fade).

The issue which we have only grappled with on the margins is does the Internet as a tool change the way we do things or is the way we do things changed because we have a new tool that is more sympathetic to our activities.  The difference between what Andrew Feenberg terms seeing technology as substantive or seeing technology at instrumental.  The stance we take has far reaching implications, and to not acknowledge and work through the stand that we take is both lazy and can cause difficulties.  

So Paul Mason takes very much a substantive view.  It is the digital tools that are shortening our attention spans (remember when everybody was making the argument that Sesame Street television was changing our attention spans - now they are the good ones), making us read differently, making us write differently.  In a sense he is saying who we are is being controlled by our technology.   Well I guess that takes a hell of a lot of responsibility off of us.  Humans love to off load responsibility I think.  There is also a good deal of underlying yelling at those meddling kids to get off of his lawn.  They don't know what great literature is because they have been CHANGED by their damned gadgets - and not for the better mind you.

But let me suggest another possibility, counter point to Mason's.   Most of  the time when I read, even a good book, my mind wanders.  Sometimes I am just pretending to read while thinking about something else.  There are times when I am so consumed by a book that my mind becomes consumed by the narrative - but those are few and far between and I relish those memories (every time I recommend the book Shogun or Lonesome Dove to somebody I tell them I am jealous of the experience they are going to have).  But the great majority of time my mind wanders into different caverns of my thinking.  So maybe e-books aren't changing the way we read, but we are using e-books because they are better tools for the way we always read.  I don't know, but I think the stance you take is important.

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces+mglassman=ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+mglassman=ehe.ohio-state.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Lplarry
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2015 11:03 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Paul Mason's comment on how ebooks are changing writing

Paul Mason points up one relation that causes wonder?

Novels that are memorable are "immersive" experiences (in Dewey's sense of undergoing experience.

Today (contempory) types or kinds of reading are more "provisional" 

Annalisa, this linking to our lives becoming more "provisional" (less depth and lived more on the surface) is a phenomena that Dewey would explain as the stream of experiences not becoming "ordered" or "structured" as "having AN experience".

The loss of memorable experiences when living within the ongoing flow of experiences (the stream of appearances) when we don't pause to incorporate the corpus as embodied "meaning" that has been lived through in depth.
The metaphor of depth/surface as a way of locating ourselves in "spaces OF ....? 
Not space as geometric but space as places OF (upon which) meaning "forms".

I wonder if the phenomena Paul Mason is reflecting on is an aspect of what Dewey more generally is exploring with his notion of "experiences" be/coming having "an" immersive experience that is "lived-in" and so not "provisional".

Is life be/coming more "provisional" and therefore less "meaningful"?


-----Original Message-----
From: "Annalisa Aguilar" <annalisa@unm.edu>
Sent: ‎2015-‎08-‎10 6:10 AM
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Subject: [Xmca-l]   Paul Mason's comment on how ebooks are changing writing

Not sure I agree exactly, but I do agree that tools change us!


<http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/10/ebooks-are-changing-the-way-we-read-and-the-way-novelists-write>Thought this article might interest this group of folks!

Kind regards,