1st Person

So now there’s iGoogle. Add that to My Documents, My Computer, MyYahoo, the iPod, the iMac, and the iPhone — and of course, one can’t forget MySpace. I guess YouTube is the odd man out, unless of course it really means MyTube…

Anyway, in light of all the apparent concern for me and mine, this quote from Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. is apt:

In an ego-centered culture, wants become needs (maybe even duties), the self replaces the soul, and human life degenerates into the clamor of competing autobiographies. People get fascinated with how they feel — and with how they feel about how they feel. In such a culture and in the throes of such fascination, the self exists to be explored, indulged, and expressed but not disciplined or restrained.

A disciplined or restrained self puts the first person second. While I don’t expect to be browsing “Your Documents” or listening to a HerPod anytime soon, it would be refreshing to see a little bit less of the “i” around…

3 thoughts on “1st Person”

  1. Jared,
    Very astute observations about the egocentric theme in technology/electronics. It is indeed telling of just how prominent the self is in our society. I’ll try and link to your post soon.

    I think it goes deeper than what Plantinga points out though–and trust me I read his book and think it is great so I’m in no way knocking him. It seems like the emphasis on the self is also fueled by a particular type of idea about the nature of the mind. I think it goes back to Descartes “I think therefore I am” creed.

    I was actually reading about this today and it is referred to as the subject/object debate (subject being the self; object being the reality or world outside of the self). This divide is a false dichotomy for many reasons but it is the assumption driving a lot of the ego centered stuff you point out. Some books I’ve found helpful for this topic are: Ralph McInerny’s “A First Glance at Thomas Aquinas” especially the chapter on modernity; Fergus Kerr’s After Aquinas” especially the chapter on “Overcoming Epistemology.”
    Thanks again.
    God bless,

  2. Matt: good thoughts on the subject/object (false) dichotomy. I’ll note the references and will definitely bookmark your blog.

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