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The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World
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W. W. Norton & Company 2016
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Description

You are a four-dimensional human.


Each of us exists in three-dimensional, physical space. But, as a constellation of everyday digital phenomena rewires our lives, we are increasingly coaxed from the containment of our predigital selves into a wonderful and eerie fourth dimension, a world of ceaseless communication, instant information, and global connection.


Our portals to this new world have been wedged open, and the silhouette of a figure is slowly taking shape. But what does it feel like to be four-dimensional? How do digital technologies influence the rhythms of our thoughts, the style and tilt of our consciousness? What new sensitivities and sensibilities are emerging with our exposure to the delights, sorrows, and anxieties of a networked world? And how do we live in public with these recoded private lives?


Laurence Scott—hailed as a "New Generation Thinker" by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the BBC—shows how this four-dimensional life is dramatically changing us by redefining our social lives and extending the limits of our presence in the world. Blending tech-philosophy with insights on everything from Seinfeld to the fall of Gaddafi, Scott stands with a rising generation of social critics hoping to understand our new reality. His virtuosic debut is a revelatory and original exploration of life in the digital age.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
08/09/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780393353082
ASIN:
B016CAJJ0S

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Laurence Scott. (2016). The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World. W. W. Norton & Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Laurence Scott. 2016. The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World. W. W. Norton & Company.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Laurence Scott, The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World. W. W. Norton & Company, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Laurence Scott. The Four-Dimensional Human: Ways of Being in the Digital World. W. W. Norton & Company, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Date Updated:
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The Four-Dimensional Human
fullDescription

You are a four-dimensional human.

Each of us exists in three-dimensional, physical space. But, as a constellation of everyday digital phenomena rewires our lives, we are increasingly coaxed from the containment of our predigital selves into a wonderful and eerie fourth dimension, a world of ceaseless communication, instant information, and global connection.

Our portals to this new world have been wedged open, and the silhouette of a figure is slowly taking shape. But what does it feel like to be four-dimensional? How do digital technologies influence the rhythms of our thoughts, the style and tilt of our consciousness? What new sensitivities and sensibilities are emerging with our exposure to the delights, sorrows, and anxieties of a networked world? And how do we live in public with these recoded private lives?

Laurence Scott—hailed as a "New Generation Thinker" by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the BBC—shows how this four-dimensional life is dramatically changing us by redefining our social lives and extending the limits of our presence in the world. Blending tech-philosophy with insights on everything from Seinfeld to the fall of Gaddafi, Scott stands with a rising generation of social critics hoping to understand our new reality. His virtuosic debut is a revelatory and original exploration of life in the digital age.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        June 13, 2016
        Scott, an essayist and critic, offers a rich phenomenology of living in the digital age and its radical reshaping of fundamental human experiences. Based on the premise that “a culture reveals much about itself by the metaphors it uses,” Scott sees in the early Internet—conceptualized by denizens as a “mode of transportation” for anonymous, disembodied selves—a parallel to the late-Victorian fascination with “the fourth dimension,” popularly understood as “a space into which one might travel, a world that could be reached if only the right conduit or portal could be found.” But when the “civic and commercial conservatism” of late capitalism “fuses with the true radicalism of digital life,” the result is our current claustrophobia. Scott sketches the artistic, political, and environmental corollaries to show how “digital life is inherently suited to a language of the macabre and the monstrous.” His keen attention to our digital diction is at its best in a brilliant analysis of our tendency to tag variegated online browsing as kinds of porn. Unlike many literary grumps, Scott writes eruditely from an embedded perspective shared by anyone who has ever settled an argument with a quick search of IMDb. Greek mythology and Dorian Gray come into play, not as fearful salvos against imagined hordes of digital barbarians, but rather used alongside pop culture as living artifacts whose interpretive value is up to the task of better understanding our lives now. Scott’s sharp eye for irony and great wit make this debut a lively contribution to the conversation about the effects of the Internet on society.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        June 15, 2016
        Is Airbnb the beginning of our end? Perhaps not, but, as this elegant meditation explores, it's just one more sign of our sterile, disembodied times.British social critic Scott's (English and Creative Writing/Arcadia Univ.) essay on the disembodiment and dislocation that come with technology has promise, at first, of being a kind of manifesto of the sort Jaron Lanier might issue, but it soon settles into a coolly McLuhan-esque treatise, rich in reference to the likes of Virginia Woolf and Walter Benjamin, on our dematerialized condition. Whereas Lanier, for instance, might take an alarmed view of the political implications of a world in which "the moments of our lives audition for digitization," Scott is more inclined to the existential and philosophical: we are both anonymous and exhaustively identified, seen and unseen, physical and virtual, isolated and connected, and, thanks to social media, everywhere at once. It is this last truth that lends credence to Scott's fruitful notion that we are all suddenly four-dimensional beings who can escape the ordinary laws of physics that bound us to time and place: "Where do our bodies begin and end in a networked world?" The answer is a little scary: at least the images that Scott conjures of the 1950s sci-fi denizen known as 4D Man suggest that our newfound "ability to slip through solid objects" may not be altogether a good thing. On the other hand, it may not be bad, either. As Scott writes, the novelist A.S. Byatt has observed that even though modern passers-by seem to have their eyeballs glued to their phones, "overall they seem happier than strangers did in her earlier years." Happier, perhaps, but certainly more tired, endlessly working to serve our technology. And more alike as well: Scott quotes Zadie Smith as noting that social media "can enforce uniformity," shouting us down into a kind of digital sameness that, he adds, "inevitably entails a constricting of personality." More Adorno than Negroponte but of interest to students of contemporary first-world culture.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

popularity
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shortDescription

You are a four-dimensional human.

Each of us exists in three-dimensional, physical space. But, as a constellation of everyday digital phenomena rewires our lives, we are increasingly coaxed from the containment of our predigital selves into a wonderful and eerie fourth dimension, a world of ceaseless communication, instant information, and global connection.

Our portals to this new world have been wedged open, and the silhouette of a figure is slowly taking shape. But what does it feel like to be four-dimensional? How do digital technologies influence the rhythms of our thoughts, the style and tilt of our consciousness? What new sensitivities and sensibilities are emerging with our exposure to the delights, sorrows, and anxieties of a networked world? And how do we live in public with these recoded private lives?

Laurence Scott—hailed as a "New Generation Thinker" by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the BBC—shows how...

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