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The Four-Dimensional Human

Ways of Being in the Digital World

Laurence Scott (Author)

 

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.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • August 2016
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35307-5
  • 5.6 × 8.3 in / 272 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth and the European Union.

Endorsements & Reviews

“Here at last we have a portrait in full of our digitally extended, digitally entwined selves. With wit, intelligence, and tenderness, Laurence Scott explores the glowing, sprite-filled wonderland that we now inhabit and the silent, empty places that lie in its shadow.” — Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows and The Glass Cage

“Clever, allusive, with a capacious sense of humor, the book sizzles with intelligence… [Scott is] a clearly brilliant critic.” — Jacob Silverman, New York Times Book Review

“In his study of our hyperactive internet age, Scott’s interest lies less in the technology than in we who use it. Scott’s references are admirably broad, spanning high and low culture in a layered and complex (and Samuel Johnson shortlisted) account.” — Financial Times, Best Books of the Year 2015

“Scott’s writing is exceptionally fine, and his cultural range extravagant… An astounding debut.” — Sunday Times, Thought Book of the Year

“"With his joyful phrase-making and sharp eye for the follies and absurdities of wired life, Scott would be the perfect investigator to report back on what it feels like to be… uploaded."” — Will Self, Guardian

“A probing and elegant meditation on the digital world’s ‘ways of being.’ Beyond the lovely precision of its diction and companionable voice, it is notable for its courage to write from inside the ambiguities and confusions of online life, to resist the easy pleasures of summary judgement.” — New Statesman

“[The Four-Dimensional Human] is carefully crafted and eloquently written. . . A valuable book that brings a fresh perspective to the topic of life online and offline.” — Jennifer Golbeck, Science

“Adds immeasurably to the burgeoning literature on what social media do to our innermost lives, relationships, and stance towards the world. [Scott] doesn’t travel on main roads—the familiar worries about technology—but rather on hidden byways marked by imagination and metaphor, where data cannot follow.” — Carol Tavris, Times Literary Supplement

“Witty, intellectual.” — Dane Carr, Booklist

“[An] elegant meditation.” — Kirkus

“[A] rich phenomenology of living in the digital age and its radical reshaping of fundamental human experiences... 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.” — Publishers Weekly

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