In this modern day and age, my answer to finding the true meaning of something based on our own views is technology. My answer goes against Birkerts essay while it may concur with Sommers ideas. Even though Birkerts states a solid argument which I agree with to a certain extent, I disagree with his point on technology mainly because he fails to realize the benefits technology has given to society. However, we as a society should realize that technology could be negative to our understanding in ways where it interferes with our lives which leads me to agree with some of Sommers ideas.
Birkerts writes his essay in the start of a technological revolution back in 1994, because of that he fails to see the complete effect of technology to society. I believe technology has given us resources to help us discover the truth. Technology has given us an important resource that is highly beneficial to society in terms of finding truth: the internet.
This resource connects us worldwide in a matter of seconds. The internet offers an enormous amount of access to different kind of information; with research the internet could help us find the truth. Technology and democracy is another factor that has together given us numerous ways in terms of finding truth because we are free to do our research online, we can access more than a million sources from around the world, whether it is videos, blogs, social media, or news. Society in the past had fewer access to information such as books or global communication because of restrictions set by the government.
On the other hand, social media has the power to spread a message around the world. It also serves for us to meet with people around the world and share ideas. However, some tend to use social media in a negative way such as spreading false information.
Social media has mostly given us positive impacts to find a source of truth. It has influenced society as a whole from our cultures to social being. Social media has brought truth upon us by impacting our politics to an extent where it influences our elections, providing abundant information, and by giving us instant global communication. It has provided many opportunities due to its different social messaging apps that connect us worldwide. Although it has helped find truth, unfortunately social media has also impacted us negatively. It has interfered with our social life for example relying on it too much could make you lose contact to the real world. Social media can be a huge distraction from work and school. It could be a waste of time when used unnecessarily. Social media also impacts us psychologically, even though we don’t realize it. We tend to forget about our lives and focus on others. We scroll on our news feed for hours looking at other people’s memories and reading about their journeys while we still haven’t accomplished ours. We as humans have to achieve to learn, learn from mistakes and keep us striving.
In general, I do agree with Birkerts and Sommers original idea. I agree with the idea that being given information isn’t the same as understanding it. One has to think deeply to find truth in sources because information only gives us insight on a situation. Media is an example of information that isn’t deeply understood. People who watch news on tv or read the newspapers tend to stand with an idea even though it could be one sided and not entirely explained, this is where one has to use resources such as technology to think deeply by doing research to shape a voice in the situation
After reading these two essays “The Owl Has Flown” by Sven Birkerts and “I Stand Here Writing” by Nancy Sommers, I realized that I myself have been affected by what they argue. I couldn’t recall the last time I’ve picked up a book and read intensively or established a connection or the last time I used my own knowledge to write an essay. Every time I would read a book I would lose interest or spoil the main idea by google. Whenever I have an essay I would sit there lost after a few paragraphs. I believe the reason for this is that I am dependent of the internet because I am used to being thrown at information rather than finding it. Specifically, I would blame social media because it takes up most of our spare time and gives us insight on many irrelevant matters, instead I could be using my spare time to read books which I could benefit in gaining knowledge. I wouldn’t blame technology as a whole because there are plenty ways of using the resources it has provided efficiently. I could use technology to access all kinds of e-books, read articles, learn different languages, and learn useful skills such as coding.
In regard to Sommers argument about using your life experiences as a source of truth, I personally feel like it is more difficult to do so in this modern age. Technology has highly benefited us but at the same time affected our lives. Social media platforms like Instagram which I use on a daily change the way I feel about life because of its influences. This platform gives us many unrealistic perceptions of life from all the “celebrity” lifestyles which to a point makes you forget who you are as a person. But we have the power to avoid this for example I would find myself sometimes taking a break from it due to confusion about how I should live my life. In Sommers own words using writing as an example “We need only be inventors, we need only give freely and abundantly to the texts, imagining even as we write that we too will be a source from which other readers can draw sustenance”.
Technology has shifted society from traditional reading to a new world of digital information. We use this digital information only to seek what we please. I do not fully see this as negative I only see it as a tool of finding who we are and what we really seek to learn. Personally, I would rather have this whole platform full of information rather than having a few books to read from. This innovative technology can be used as an additional source of knowledge and truth. As Birkerts mentions we have shifted from a vertical to a horizontal consciousness . I argue that we could use both consciousness as a skill for knowledge. This both sided consciousness has given us a whole new perspective. In conclusion, technology has provided us with more good than bad but one has to balance his use of technology to avoid the negative effect.