CNN.com - The screen-age: Our brains in our laptops - Aug 2, 2004
CNN reporter Christine Boese writes:
"If we think of ourselves as somehow projected outside our bodies, one's sense of self becomes increasingly fragmented. My math brain lives partly inside a calculator.
"My consciousness isn't just split between gray matter and a hard drive or two. Now part of it lives on the Internet and seems to stay there all the time. While I may feel a bit diffuse, mostly I observe changes in what McLuhan called our 'sense ratios,' like a goldfish changing from one kind of aquarium to another. We adapt. We gain some things, lose others."
That we can use electronic sensors to manipulate electronic machines or transfer data from one body to another seems pretty straightforward in terms of "extension" - a passing of information, basically, in the form of minute electronic fluxes you could say; but what I don't get is why people insist on this "fragmentation" bullshit. Your consciousness isn't going into the machine if you use a calculator, nor is it extending out into the network when you read or write on a computer, or watch television. No more than it goes into the glass you're holding when you pour your milk into it.
I do get it: it's a historically based assumption drawing on centuries of speculation regarding the immateriality vs materiality of human consciousness. Language and metaphors are the culprits.