My annotation to Scott’s first chapter of The Four-Dimensional Human is related to the following passage:
I turned back to see the tame, daytime guise of that narrow little passageway, so inconvenient and improvised. My mind retraced the journey back through the passage, into the office and out into the landing, where the locked door protected its secrets. I smiled at my idiocy, for it was suddenly clear that, all along, it had been me inside the forbidden room. The desk's disarray, my papers and his papers, the computer and the rows of books, even the white sky outside, became vivid with realisation. I had been chasing myself. During those evening hours I had been simultaneously inside and outside the room. In art instant, all of my theories about its contents fell in on themselves, and the blankness was imprinted with a sudden picture, a selfie before its time.
Prompts to the students: in 1917, Pirandello, a Sicilian writer also known for being a precursor of the later existentialist Theatre of the Absurd, wrote a short novel called “La Carriola” (which translates into the wheelbarrow) where he describes the life of a professor and attorney who suddenly starts to see himself from the outside, consequently acknowledging his own misery and unhappiness. The epiphany is the product of the realisation that his job and daily activities are simply masks that prevent him for living an authentic life. His conclusion is that his real self has changed so profoundly, and possibly irreversibly, purely as a consequence of being unconsciously molded by other people’s expectations and perceptions. What’s your view on this?
Do you see a parallel between this century-old novel and Scott’s narration? If so, how can you extend it to the contemporary use of social media? Similarly, how can this awareness be a stimulus to an eyes-wide-open usage of digital tools? Would you say that Scott’s concerns around the fourth dimension somehow represent the acknowledgment of how media platforms constantly remind us of an increasing social pressure that stays with us even in the dark and solitude of our own private spaces?