Late last year Pamela Paul set down 100 Things We’ve Lost To The Internet.
But since March 2020 we’ve lost far more.
And for every gain we thought we got, the losses are now appearing deeper.
Here’s my top few losses – either complete or nearly:
- A particular concept of freedom
- The ability to read a book, or even a long-form essay
- The expectation that people will look when you enter a room
- Reliance that books are more trustworthy and more reliable places for forming opinions than the internet
- The ability to see that the other side looks and behaves just like us
- The ability to shut off and recalibrate your own mind
- A physical workplace
- The desire to use public transport rather than the car
- The courage to talk to strangers in real life
- Empathy or the desire to help people
- In-person appreciation of art, concerts, plays, or mass events
- Reliable research and trust in authorship
- Trust that you’ve come to a defensible position and not just repeating memes
- The will to turn it off
- CD stores and video rental stores
- Testing things out by touching them
- Deep sleep
- Mass gatherings for any reason
- Physically being there for them
- One’s own space
- Making the effort to go out
- Restaurants and bars
- The meaning of precedent
- Long-form oral history
- The ability to sing in public
They aren’t coming back. It’s a swan-song to a previous era. Some things held.
But much just melted into air.
What are yours?