I would annotate the following two sections in the introduction to Laurence Scott’s The Four Dimensional Human: Ways of being in the Digital World:
Today, we live with the sense that un-tweeted, un-instagrammed moments might feel somehow cubic, as in boxed in, just these four walls, unless the walls can be contorted along invisible lines and a message smuggled out. Few people have trouble finding such a smuggler now; it’s a mass industry, this smuggling of life into four dimensions (xvi).
Prompt for students: Consider your personal experience documenting and sharing moments from your life on social media. When you share text, an image or a video online, do you feel that you are sharing or creating an authentic representation of yourself? Does sharing representations of your life experiences in digital form make those experiences feel more “real,” or do you feel differently?
A crucial tension of our times is that, although we can luxuriate in this gained dimension, stretching our lives into the world like never before, we are simultaneously asked to ignore, deny, accept, strategise or rail against the hypothesis that our physical planet is diminishing (xxi).
Prompt for students: How do you interpret this tension? Does the digital dimension serve more strongly as a catalyst for action, or as an escapist distraction from the social and environmental challenges facing our world?