Explaining Everything

Explaining Everything
Transitional objects help us connect our selves to our world

I thought maybe that post title would grab your attention off the interwebs–a place long on information and not so long on synthesis.

And yet, from those same web-deeps from time to time comes a thread of woven thought that leaves us more “together” having both read and comprehended its message.

Such is the case for this Brain Pickings extraction from a collection of “explanations” from 192 thinkers called This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works.

You know a read page has had impact when few lines remain NOT underlined or marginally annotated in some way. This was that kind of longer-than-blog-normal article. Below I offer an especially provocative excerpt from this longer sampler of interesting thought that purports to contribute toward a partial answer to the grand question “What scientific concept will improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?”

I like the notion given by Sherry Turkle, the author of Together, Alone. (See links below this post for more about her ideas and her book.) She speaks in this Brain Pickings excerpt from This Explains Everything about the notion of “transitional objects.”

If you’re the rare Friday blog reader, you can click here for my annotations from Turkle’s passage about those cherished objects that form the bridge between self and other. (Scroll down to the 5th image and excerpt, my highlights are in yellow.)

She considers the computer as a special kind of adult transitional object–that provides both comfort and connection (for some but not all adults). Herein may lie a partial explanation for the vast difference between me (who sees the computer as more than a tool and as a transitional object by Turkle’s use of the phrase) and my wife (who sees computer as a necessary evil and nothing but a tool, and a loathsome one at that.)

[su_box title=”Him-Her COMPUTER Love-Hate ” style=”glass” box_color=”#7a1e1e”]In your relationship with Significant Other, do you have LIKE or UNLIKE feelings towards computers, the internet and digital technologies as a whole? I know quite a few MISMATCHED couples, and live inside such a relationship myself. [/su_box]

There is much to chew on from this Brain Picking. You have all weekend. Prepare to give an account of yourself come Monday. There will be a pop test.

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About

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

3 Comments on “Explaining Everything

  1. My husband constantly says I am computer-addicted and he is probably right. As I age, it provides education, entertainment, friends and more. PLUS, it doesn’t talk back, and if it does, you can click off to something else. Can’t do that with people…..LOL

  2. I read the highlights in the article, and I’m afraid I was left unmoved. I use my computer more for connection than anything else. Information and entertainment i still get elsewhere. But it’s mainly the efficiency that makes me use it. I vastly prefer face to face. Being able to remain connected to more of my loved ones than I would find time for otherwise is the biggest plus.

  3. Read anything by Ray Kurzweil, and you’ll be convinced that we will become our computers and our computers will become us. Sooner than you think….

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