The Soul Of The New Machine Essay

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The Soul Of The New Machine Essay, Research Paper The Soul of the New Machine Over the last two decades, a technological revolution has occurred as computers have become essential to our society. The rapid development of computer technologies has brought people infinite convenience and a higher standard of living. However, increasing numbers of people have lost their souls and identities because of excessively immersing their lives in the cyberspace. In high-tech corporations, many employees lack social skills, forming their own unique computer culture. This cultural phenomenon is interesting in that it challenges the meaning of modern technology in the terms of seeking a better life. In Microserfs, Douglas Coupland explores the nature of life through the eyes of a code

tester at Microsoft, Daniel Underwood. Through Daniel s diary, we come to see the aimlessness of the computer geeks life, one that is dependent upon computers and modern technology. Coupland describes his character s attempt to find the meaning of life in an environment devoid of social or personal lives, addressing the significance of human contact and interaction in today s society. Coupland uses the diary style, appeals to the emotions, compares humans and machines, and explores changes in characters life styles to argue that human intimacy and love are central to the fulfillment and enhancement of our lives in the modern computerized world regardless of the amount of money and the kinds of jobs we have. Diary style also has many advantages that can spark the readers

curiosity, attract the readers attention, and be easily understood. Diaries are usually used to keep personal memories and secrets, and importantly human beings have the natural desire to explore the unknown. Moreover, the readers feel they are having an intimate look into the character s life, immersing themselves into the details of the character s life. At the same time, readers can digest the novel easily, finding new nuggets each time. Coupland employs his unique diary style to argue that many computer geeks lack the intimacy and love they need. He points out that Daniel does not feel fulfilled because he interacts only with computers and his diary rather than people. Daniel tells us, I was PowerBooking my journal entry and I could feel Karla watching me, and I got a little

self-conscious. I said, I guess it s sort of futile trying to keep a backup file of my personal memories (359). At first Coupland shows that Daniel lacks social skills or at least an interest in a social life. The words little self-conscious show that he is uncomfortable around people. Therefore, he heavily relies on his diary to communicate. The word little truthfully reflects Daniel s unpleasant heart. It seems as if talking constantly to the computer screen cannot satisfy him with complete joy and pleasure. This hints to readers that he is looking for a better life, and we see this in the later chapters. In fact, Coupland reveals that diary entries are not enough for Daniel to deal with his depression and confusion. Daniel writes in his diary, so I closed the door and told

Karla about Jed, and you know, I was glad I was able to tell someone at least (27). The words glad and at least imply that Daniel rarely interacts with people but is emotionally and instinctively happy when he does. Truly, with the simplest words, Daniel expresses his eagerness to talk to a person rather than a computer, realizing that interacting with a human being will bring him happiness and joy that his diary and computer cannot. This supports Coupland s argument that human intimacy cannot be replaced by other objects like a computer. Coupland uses not only the diary style to argue his ideas about intimacy and love, but also appeals to the audience s emotions by describing the having no life syndrome that all characters seem to suffer from in supporting his idea that intimacy