13 pages
Word Count
4288 words
Course Code

I Internet, Therefore I Am

June 30, 2017
Abner Kamps
Kellie Roblin
EN 102
March 13, 2017
I internet, therefore I am
“We are wired to be social. We are driven by deep motivations
to stay connected with friends and family. We are naturally
curious about what is going on in the minds of other people.
And our identities are formed by the values lent to us from the
groups we call our own. These connections lead to strange
behaviors that violate our expectation of rational self-interest
and make sense only if our social nature is taken as a starting
point for who we are(Lieberman 9)”. This is an excerpt from a
book titled Social: why our brains are wired to connect.
Whenever I find a new idea, I don’t simply believe it hook line
and sinker, I like to go out and field test it empirically and look
for real life evidence that supports this idea. In addition to that, I
like to inject other ideas in the idea that I have found. In
Nicholas Carr’s flagship book The Shallows: what the internet
is doing to our brains he states “The interactivity of the medium
[meaning the internet] has also turned it into the world’s
meetinghouse, where people gather to chat, gossip, argue, show
off, and flirt on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and all sorts of
other social (and sometimes antisocial) networks (Carr 191)”. If
we are truly wired to connect and the internet is our meeting
house, then it would make sense to ask the question, how is the
internet affecting interpersonal relationships?
It’s 8:50am on a Monday morning and I am making my way to
my 9:00am French class. After turning the corner of the hallway
leading to the classroom I see about half the class sitting on the
bench outside the classroom waiting for our French prof to come
and unlock the door for us so that we can enter the classroom. I
watch as all the students in my French class sit there scrolling on
their phones before our French prof comes to let us into the
classroom. This bothers me. And what bothers me the most is
that they are not texting people or snapchatting people back and
forth. They are just scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. Not
engaging with people on the Facebook they are on, they just
scrolling. Nicholas Carr is a writer whose primary audience are
people in the tech world, in his book The Shallows: what the
internet is doing to our brains he states “It’s important to
emphasize that the Net’s ability to monitor events and
automatically send out messages and notifications is one of its
great strengths as a communication technology. We rely on that
capability to personalize the workings of the system, to program
the vast database to respond to our particular needs, interests,
and desires. We want to be interrupted, because each
interruption brings us a valuable piece of information. To turn
off these alerts is to risk feeling out of touch, or even socially
isolated” (Carr 288).
Me and my classmates sit outside the classroom surrounded by
people that we know, but not one of us engages anybody in
conversation. It is as though our devices have completely
regimented our minds, subduing us to believe that on the screens
lays the highest social value, although real human
connectedness sits next to us in a dormant state. By the way, the
example of me and my classmates was just one example. It
doesn’t matter where you are, whether it be in the subway
station, grocery shopping, or in line at the DMV, people are on
devices, scrolling. I know of couples who have Netflix playing
on the television, each of them sitting with a laptop open, AND
they scrolling on their phones. That’s 5 screens with
differentiating content between two people.
Without having to go through a introductory Latin class I would
like discuss the brain and two of its key tenets that we know
from research. The first is that our brain needs and loves
community, secondly that our brains are incredibly malleable.
I’ll start with what Dr Lieberman has to say about our brains in
Social he states that “Our brains evolved to experience threats to
our social connections in much the same way they experience
physical pain. By activating the same neural circuitry that causes
us to feel physical pain, our experience of social pain helps
ensure the survival of our children by helping to keep them close
to their parents. The neural link between social and physical
pain also ensures that staying socially connected will be a
lifelong need, like food and warmth”(Lieberman 17). As human
beings we are communal, and humans have learned that when
we work together we get more done and we shouldn't be social
for the sake of being social, but it is a need. In Social Matthew
Lieberman often uses work of other researchers in this next
passage I am quoting from he is using work from a guy named
Robin Dunbar “When the relative size of the neocortex is
correlated with differences in the three potential drivers of brain
size (individual innovation, social learning, and group size),
group size is the strongest predictor of neocortex size. In his first
study, Dunbar pitted group size against indicators of nonsocial
kinds of intelligence, and he found that although both correlated
with the neocortex ratio, group size was the better predictor
(Lieberman)”. Further he states that “Dunbar was able to
estimate what the largest effective, coherent social group should

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