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“Touchscreen” by Marshall Davis Jones Essay

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Updated: Apr 10th, 2020

Living in the constantly changing environment involves a rapid development of technology, as people want to make their life easier. There is no necessity to have even multiple devices, as modern smartphones can successfully replace a camera, book, computer, and television.

It seems rather handy, but more and more people spend time in front of the screen liking posts, messaging and watching videos instead of having a ‘real’ communication. It seems that people start to lose control over their lives. Internet addiction is now treated as a psychiatric disorder (Smith par. 1). Digital pandemic has already begun. In the end, an intensive digitalization, is it a blessing or a curse?

The primary goal of this essay is to understand a new definition of the word ‘touch’, as it is apparent that the definition has a dissimilar meaning to the original one. In the poem, Touchscreen by Jones addresses the negative impact of technology on a personal development and lifestyle, as a high digitalization ruins lives (Jones, “Soulful” Marshall).

Jones successfully establishes a new definition of the concept ‘touch’, which can be formally defined as “to bring a bodily part into contact with especially so as to perceive through the tactile sense: handle or feel gently usually with the intent to understand or appreciate” (“Merriam-Webster: Touch” par. 1). Nonetheless, in the poem, the sense of the definition evolved, as it implies a human connection via a touch screen and illusion of communication.

It is apparent that nowadays our lives cannot be imagined without regularly using the touchscreen to communicate in the social media. The depressive truth is the fact that the digitalization has a tendency to replace the real relationship and make forget about the joyful moments of life, Jones implies (Jones, “Soulful” Marshall). The author emphasizes the destructive state of life of the modern people, as now “your wife is an app, doesn’t it feel good to touch?” (Jones, “Soulful” Marshall).

However, some people argue and say that an adverse impact of technology is overestimated, as it makes life less complicated and comfortable. Singh, Singh, and Raftree claim that it could be used to enhance the living and improve the communication (par. 1). However, the dehumanization still occurs, as it is stated in the poem. It could be said that that Jones successfully redefines the word ‘touch’ in the poem, as it is understood and evaluated in the dissimilar context than any of the formal definitions.

Firstly, the formal definition has to be discovered, as it will help identify and understand the initial sense of the phenomenon. As it was mentioned earlier, ‘touch’ can be defined as “to bring a bodily part into contact with especially so as to perceive through the tactile sense: handle or feel gently usually with the intent to understand or appreciate” (“Merriam-Webster: Touch” par. 1). It implies that the object can be touched physically, and its characteristics can be acquired with the help of this act.

Nonetheless, this word also has other meanings, but this definition is the most applicable and relevant for this analysis. Although, it could be said that the initial sense of ‘touch’ starts being used less because now people can ‘touch’ and observe the objects and people with the help of the touchscreens on their phones. The process still involves the tactile activity, but now it is not essential to observe the object directly, as now it can be explored on the computer screen. It is apparent that people start losing the idea about the objects since it does not involve physical contact.

Moreover, human social lives are strongly dependent on technology because digital machines are everywhere. Regarding this matter, Jones claims, “Now it’s even more difficult to connect, Now that cliques form friends”. It might seem that situation will worsen with the development of technology, and people will forget the vital elements, which create a clear understanding of the main characteristic of the object or a person.

As for the operational definition, the word ‘touch’ evolved, as now it has a vehement relation to the touchscreen. It is apparent that it appeared due to the technological development, as previously the touchscreens were not present in our lives.

However, nowadays more and more people start using it, as it becomes popular in the world. It has to be mentioned that even separate definition was created to provide a concrete explanation of the touchscreen. It can be defined as “a type of screen on a computer that shows options that you can choose by touching the screen” (“Merriam-Webster: Touch Screen”).

It could be said that the word did not lose its original meaning. However, it does not involve a direct ‘touch’. In this case, a person is ‘touching’ the screen, and the touchscreen is playing the role of the intermediary between an individual and an object or a friend. It might seem comfortable and beneficial for an individual. Nevertheless, whether it is evil or good will be discovered later with the assistance of the poem Touchscreen by Jones.

In the context of the poem, the original meaning is not taken, but it implies that now it is a necessity of the Internet access, so people will be able to ‘touch’ each other (Sample Student 4). The ‘touch’ is understood as an adverse aspect because the face-to-face interaction, which involves using the tactile senses, lost its significance. In this case, the poet emphasizes the negative impact by intensively repeating “doesn’t it feel good to touch?” (Jones, “Soulful” Marshall).

However, it means touching the screen in the context of the poem. The ‘normal’ communication lost its initial appearance, as now, “I can do all of these things without making eye contact” (Jones, “Soulful” Marshall). The devices and applications, such as “iPod iMac iPhone iChat”, having a happy virtual life (Jones, “Soulful” Marshall). There is no point in visiting your friend for a chat, as the process completely digitalized and does not require a contact in the real life. Consequently, soon people will forget the sounds, smells, and voices, as “voices are only read “(Jones, “Soulful” Marshall).

With the help of the modern definition of the word ‘touch’, the poet was able to discuss and emphasize that the digitalization is conquering the human kind, and the modern world can already declare the pandemic. “My world has become so digital”, Jones states (Jones, “Soulful” Marshall). The electronic devices are present everywhere, “email, e-motion, like e-commerce” (Jones, “Soulful” Marshall).

It is apparent that digitalization is existing in every sphere of life. It even interferes and determines the relationships and contacts between people. No people are required for the communication, as everything becomes available with the help of the applications. Jones presents the negativity and even expresses some sarcasm regarding the situation by saying, “your wife is an app” (Jones, “Soulful” Marshall).

The situation might appear to be funny, but yet it is sad since it is true. It could be said that the digitalization not only affects the relationships with other people, but also ruins the customs, traditions, and habits. It is apparent that people lack control over their lives, as they sacrifice their freedom for the ownership of the ‘touchscreens’.

Nonetheless, some people have a tendency to believe that touch screens and digitalization, in general, will help improve current living conditions. The article, Technology: Using Power for Good by Singh, Singh, and Raftree focuses on the positive influences, which the technology can have on the development of the life to enhance the ability to communicate adequately (Singh, Singh and Raftree par. 1).

After providing this counterargument, it might seem that that a new definition of touch has a positive impact on our lives. However, it is not necessarily in this case, as even the authors of the article doubt whether rapid technological development is beneficial or disturbing for the society. It is apparent that it has advantages and disadvantages, but it seems that the drawbacks become traumatic for the human lives. It becomes problematic while determining a correct way of understanding what life is real.

In conclusion, it could be said that people have a tendency to introduce a new meaning of the words during a rapid technologic development. A similar situation occurred with the word ‘touch’, as now it starting to lose its intentional meaning. It is apparent that the digitalization is not always a positive phenomenon, as people forget about the interaction and communication in the real world.

Consequently, they have a tendency to mix reality and vitality and stop using tactile senses to establish relationships or tell the characteristics of the object. In the end, you have the decision to make, ‘do you want to sacrifice your real life for vitality?’ or ‘do you wish to enjoy every moment of life and experience joy?’. The decision will be difficult, as digitalization is conquering the world and tries to trap everyone. The technological pandemic can be declared, you have to decide whether you will be infected or remain ‘healthy’.

Works Cited

“Jones, “Soulful” Marshall: Touchscreen.” Youtube. Youtube, 2012.

. 2015.

. 2015.

Sample Student. “Screens Replacing Skin.” 2012. TS.

Singh, Hansdeep, Jaspreet Singh and Linda Raftree. “Technology: Using Power for Good”. The Guardian. 2014.

Smith, David. “Addiction to Internet ‘Is an Illness’.” The Guardian . 2008.

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