The Shallows


Nicholas Carr

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Shallows can help.
The Enlightenment was an era of intellectual rebirth in Europe that dramatically changed ideas about science and culture in the Western world. Taking place throughout the 18th century, Enlightenment thinking––also known as the “age of reason”––removed the traditional emphasis on authority structures like religion and government and heralded the individual’s capacity to solve problems through use of human reason. The Enlightenment is important to Carr as an example of how the intellectual technology of the book, among other things, vastly altered the human mind and the course of history.

The Enlightenment Quotes in The Shallows

The The Shallows quotes below are all either spoken by The Enlightenment or refer to The Enlightenment. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The History of Technology Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the W. W. Norton and Company edition of The Shallows published in 2011.
Chapter 7 Quotes

What we are experiencing is, in a metaphorical sense, a reversal of the early trajectory of civilization: we are evolving from being cultivators of personal knowledge to being hunters and gatherers in the electronic data forest.

Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Shallows LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Shallows PDF

The Enlightenment Term Timeline in The Shallows

The timeline below shows where the term The Enlightenment appears in The Shallows. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Value, Depth, and Intelligence  Theme Icon
Scientific Context Theme Icon
...upon maturation. The machine-brain point of view was solidified by the past attitudes of the Enlightenment, a historical age in human development when reason and science were heralded over emotion. The... (full context)
Chapter 3
The History of Technology Theme Icon
Value, Depth, and Intelligence  Theme Icon
Scientific Context Theme Icon
...the clock changed our thinking. These tools marked the move from Middle Ages thinking to Enlightenment thinking, in which the goal became to discern patterns beneath the surfaces of life. In... (full context)