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A lovely bit of cabin fever

HW 13 – DIGITAL MATRIX CHALLENGE PART 4 – ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY INTEGRATING OUR INQUIRY

During the digital matrix unit I felt as if was placed in the center of a carrousel and was shown all types of interpretation of the digital matrix spinning around me. This sensation led me to further develop my own views of the digital matrix and its effect on my life. Ultimately I don’t think that I had gained any life changing lessons throughout the unit. Nevertheless, I had gained the next best things which were stronger reasons for me to stand by my original opinions about the digital matrix. I believe that when used properly the digital matrix becomes a helpful and enjoyable tool that adds meaning to people’s life. While this claim does seem like the simplest and most cliché of thought bubble that were ever used to describe the digital matrix, it applies perfectly to my life based on what I learned during the unit.

When the unit initially started I had a pre mediated opinion about the digital matrix as a result of living in a house that is heavily influenced by computers. I original thought that the digital matrix is a helpful tool to use in order to further develop a name for one self. After logging my usage of screens over a twenty four hour period and logging my phenomenological experience with screens I had an epiphany; I like interacting with screens because they can stimulate human emotions. This is not to say that I was not aware of that resolution before, it was that after being assigned to analyze my time with the screens the penny had dropped and I had made the connection which had heavily influenced my point of view during this unit.

The next interpretation of the digital matrix I learned was how other people that I interact with on daylily bases perceive the digital matrix. I was greatly disgorged by the majority of replies I got when interviewing people about the digital matrix. The replies I received were a superficial reputation of the societal expected opinion of the digital matrix. One set of interviewers that I genuinely found insightful were my parents. The reason why parents were able to dive into a deeper explanation of the digital matrix than other is because throughout the later part of their life they used the digital matrix to help them successfully progress financially. My parents’ interaction with screens and my already skewed initial thoughts had led me to come up with the first half of my claim that the digital matrix is a useful tool.

While studying in class the different philosophers that talked about representation of reality I learnt the most insightful lesson of the whole unit. While the digital matrix may not be what the majority of the population calls the real world it is still an enjoyable world. Using the words of Cypher from The Matrix; “I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain. That it is juicy and delicious” (Wachowski). Even though the digital matrix is not “real” it is able to represent “real life” and create stimulates that trigger certain emotions. Many people are discouraged by interaction with screens and dismiss their ability to stimulate emotions because the digital matrix “is not real”. Based on my own experience, the digital matrix is an excellent instrument to channel one’s emotions. On numerous occasions I was able to improve how I felt by interacting with screens. Even though I knew that I was only interacting with representations of the “real world” I still perceived those interactions as enjoyable activities. As a result of studying and compering the concept of representation to my own life I came up with the second half of my claim that the digital matrix is enjoyable.

The digital matrix is often viewed as a hindrance and a distraction for one’s education and intelligence. In the article “Is Google Making us Stupid” by Nicholas Carr argues that the interacting with the internet reverts our ability to concentrate on reading long articles and develop deep analysis. Carr argues that the reason for people loss of intellectuality is because:

“When the Net absorbs a medium, that medium is re-created in the Net’s image. It injects the     medium’s content with hyperlinks, blinking ads, and other digital gewgaws, and it surrounds the content with the content of all the other media it has absorbed. A new e-mail message, for instance, may announce its arrival as we’re glancing over the latest headlines at a newspaper’s site. The result is to scatter our attention and diffuse our concentration” (Carr)

In addition to his article Carr wrote a book, The Shallows, in which he explains that the digital matrix limits people’s ability to create long lasting memory and they tend to fail at recalling the majority of what they learned on the digital matrix.

While the digital matrix does create a lot of noise it does not hinders everyone’s ability to intellectually progress. The major flaw in Carr’s argument about the digital matrix is that he draws his conclusions based on only a certain age group. In his article about Google’s questionable influence on people’s intelligence he only analyzed how people of certain (older) age groups were affected by the internet. Carr had failed to consider that people of younger age are able to harmonically function with the digital matrix. I personally, a relatively young person who had spent her whole life interacting with screens, am able to learn, analyze, and sustain new information that I find on the digital matrix. On more than one accession I read an article on the digital matrix and developed an opinion; only to have the topic of said article appear months later in a conversation and based on my prior knowledge I was able to add an insightful comment to the discussion.

People view the digital matrix as a hindrance and distraction from education for obvious reasons. Without taking in to account the interference that is created as a result of social updates, the digital matrix is distracting because of its many senseless miscellaneous activities. For instance, one just have to look up a picture of a cat doing something abnormal and he will forever be drowning in the oceans of absurdity and procrastination. This had happened to me on numerous occasions, and it had been the dawn fall of the majority of my projects. Based on the knowledge that the digital matrix is distracting and my own opinion I came up with a plan that encouraged me to use the digital matrix in useful and enjoyable way. My plan was to set up daily goals that applied personally to me which were executed through the use of digital matrix; my three my daylily goals were drawing on Photoshop, analyzing films, learning something new. At the end of each day I had to prove that I had completed my goals by posting them online.

Regardless of how cunning my plan was it was still ineffective at getting me to use the digital matrix in a useful and enjoyable way. This was for multiple reason, the main one being I felt uncomfortable updating my work on blogs. Instead I changed my plan so I would keep a journal in which I record my daylily goals. This process was much more efficient and it encouraged me to use the digital matrix to the serve my interests in an enjoyable way while still keeping a log of what I was doing.

I do not find it distressing that many people spend the majority of their time on the digital matrix; in fact I find it soothing to know that people are using this amazing tool. However, the majority of American society is not able to move past its primitive opinions of the digital matrix.  It is important that people not only know but also use the digital matrix in a way that is both useful and enjoyable to them; only then society would not criticize people for interacting with the digital matrix but would praise them for interacting with something that’s useful and enjoyable.

 

 

Carr, N.. “Is google making us stupid?.” Atlantic Online. The Atlantic, 2008. Web. 10 Dec 2011. <http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/6868/&gt;.

Wachowski, Lana, and Andy Wachowski. “The Matrix.” . Warner Bros. Pictures, 1999. Web. 10 Dec 2011. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133093/&gt;.

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