Essay on "Democracy and it Discontents"

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Essay on "Democracy and it Discontents" Technology can do wonderful things for us: it has improved society in that we have easier access to news, faster ways to communicate, more reliable databases, and we have come up with so many new and better advancements, that our lives, task-wise, are made easier and easier every day. But along with all these great things that technology does for us, it also has its downfalls. In his essay, Daniel Boorstin talks about how technology has attenuated or diluted the importance of moments in our lives; he believes that each technological advance leads to changes in the human experience. He calls this “democratizing” life, using this word to describe how our experiences have lost their sense of enrichment and value. He gives the examples of photography and film, and believes that due to the fact that these inventions give us the opportunity to relive important moments over and over again, these moments end up losing that "uniqueness" and that sense of "once in a lifetime" that once made them special. Boorstin defines democracy as "the thinning out or the flattening of experience". He argues that one of the consequences of this is the removal of distinctions between place and time. Technology, however, is not always democratizing; when we come up with a new advancement, it becomes an enriching experience in the sense that, it becomes something new to learn, something to improve our lives; but once we learn how it works, it becomes an attenuated experience from which we don’t get as much satisfaction as we did the first time we lived it. The act of democratizing is in itself enriching at one point, but once it becomes an everyday experience we lose that sense of enrichment, and it becomes an ordinary thing. When Boorstin wrote his essay, however, he was living in a different cultural and technological era; technology wasn't as

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