The Ground and the Figure in Our Current Moment

There are a few technology writers that I both genuinely listen to and enjoy.  Nicholas Carr, writer of The Shallows, is one of them.  He recently did an interview concerning the place of analog in a post-pandemic world.  The site shared some of the interview in print.  It gives an interesting take on “the ground and the figure” in Our Current Moment: what do we perceive are actual reality versus what is the construct built on top of it.  Carr had this to say:

We’ve been getting very, very good at social distancing, you know, socializing without physical presence through our phones. And in many ways, that can seem like a kind of a narrowing of experience and a kind of a lessening of the richness of being part of society. I think that’s true.

On the other hand, in a time like this, a crisis like this, it’s actually very useful. What it underscores for us is that we’ve sort of had a reversion. If you think about the relationship of what we used to call the real world, you know, the physical world and the online world, it used to be that most of your time you spent in the physical world and then sometimes you sit down at your computer or whatever, you hook up to the Internet and you go online. I think one of the things that’s been underscored or highlighted by our experience with a pandemic is that relationship has switched, and now the real world, the physical world, is the place we kind of go to see now and then.

But really our main reality, I think, is the virtual world, the world we enter through our phones because we’re kind of constantly on them and doing all sorts of things through them. This experience is really emphasized. In fact, it’s kind of told to us, Oh, the physical world, that’s a dangerous place. You don’t spend a lot of time there. You don’t want to go out there. You’re going to get sick. It’s much, much better to just just stick with your phone and peer in that. So in a weird way, this has emphasized what I think is a fundamental shift and in the nature of what it means to be human.

It’s all connected, of course: the nature of humanity, the nature of the world around us, and what’s real in the first place.

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I turned 44 today.  It was a good day with some good opportunities to connect (an reconnect) with others.  And I had a good evening in the neighborhood eating amazing food and spending time around dear friends.  As the day ends, I am truly grateful.

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