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100 Things We’ve Lost

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, February 16th, 2022 - 25 comments
Categories: covid-19, Deep stuff, uncategorized - Tags:

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
  • Friends
  • The ability to see that the other side looks and behaves just like us
  • Patience
  • 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
  • Books
  • 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
  • Qualifications
  • 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?

25 comments on “100 Things We’ve Lost ”

  1. Sean 1

    Church services

    Family unity

  2. Patricia Bremner 2

    Sense of community.

  3. Blade 3

    Smoko room banter. The phone rules now. You don't talk.

  4. Scott Pearson 4

    Worshipping and singing in church

  5. Some of the items on Ad's list were lost before 2020 but only becoming apparent since 2020.

    Some of them are related to lowering or having or expecting different educational standards or not acknowledging and countering that people have access to mis- or dis-information without giving them the tools to counter or question them.

    I haven't lost books, in fact one of the only downsides of the first lockdown was having to eke out my reading store by re-reading ones I had on my shelves and read before. I now keep a floating supply of Library books so I won't be caught again. We still have access to DVDs with two stores and library. In fact our library has really upped its documentary/podcasts availability since March 2020.

    My day to day world has largely stayed the same or has changed for the better, the restaurants are more spaced out.

    The things that have gone I don't regret eg cruise ships, wall to wall tourists. I had a couple of MB go just prior to March 2020 that I liked/were useful but the mods just had so much trouble with people who could not communicate, or name called

    Regular groups came back as soon as they could and are now exploring/doing Zoom etc as a long term fixture and this has meant our tech savvy but not keen on night meetings oldies are attending by Zoom/Teams etc. Our committee meetings are soooo much easier now on Zoom.

    • kejo 5.1

      I still go to the library but the books have become sticky with hand sanitiser

    • Hunter Thompson II 5.2

      No regrets about losing cruise ships – too many tourists were already coming to NZ by 2020, as Simon Upton (Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment) has pointed out in his report. It it is the natural world we are losing fast in pursuit of the dollar.

      Independent bookstores such as Unity seem to be doing well, selling to Kiwis who think.

  6. " But since March 2020 we’ve lost far more "

    What about what's been lost since the mother of all budgets and the enforcement of neo liberal policies on our fourth estate , our hard fought for union rights that offered protection at work and wages that enabled you to live a decent life. Policies that have encouraged a more selfish arrogant cruel race of people that have turned their back on many of their impoverished countrymen and women to keep their status and wealth intact. Those policies are embedded at every level of government , bureaucracy , business and are encouraged by all the parties in parliament.

    The losses AD go back further than just the 2020s and Covid has had our full attention but the systemic problems are still with us when the pandemic has run its course.

    • Tiger Mountain 6.1

      Well put Mat. Neo liberal hegemony, or at least it’s beginnings, goes back 38 years now.

      A generation discarded and never retrained or up skilled-and how could they be really for the dog eat dog shit fight that passes for an economy.

      Much of the post refers to the shift from an analogue world to digital.

    • JeremyB 6.2

      Hear Hear

  7. vto 7

    glass half full… glass half empty…

    what have we gained?


  8. vto 8

    we've lost tourists


    such a banal lot contributing zero to humanity

    slack-jawed gazing empty-headed


    good riddance

  9. Matiri 9

    We've regained our love of books, crosswords, music, cooking from the garden.

    Don't miss tourists at all.

    Am sad to see a small section of our rural community down the conspiracy rabbit hole, but the vast majority are very caring and supportive.

  10. GreenBus 10

    Missing – Police Force.

    Missing – NZ Army.

    Missing – Tow Truck drivers.

  11. Ross 11

    We've seemingly lost our ability to reason, and are uncomfortable with inconvenient facts.

  12. kejo 12

    We,ve lost our response to Climate Change, if we ever had it !!!

    • roy cartland 12.1


      It's as Greta, XR, Monbiot, and all that lot said. Don't vilify people for trying to solve the CC crisis peacefully. Because if it isn't solved, the next gen won't be so peaceful. That scene in Don't Look Up where they all just sit around waiting for the asteroid… ah no, won't happen.

  13. DS 13

    2020 was the year New Zealand – alone among Western democracies – successfully invoked the Blitz Spirit to defeat the virus. It was a year this country can be justifiably proud of, a year that showed that the poison of neoliberalism had not completely destroyed New Zealand's commitment to the collective good.

    So, no. We didn't lose anything in 2020.

    2021-2022 has been a different matter, of course. We've been losing the sense of collective solidarity, and adopting the same "all rights and no responsibilities" nonsense as the rest of the world. And that is truly something to mourn.

  14. swordfish 14


    Some of these are a corollary of the pre-2020 descent into crude echo-chamber tribalism.

  15. Obtrectator 15

    Social clubs at work. No-one's got time to run them any more, or even attend the functions. (And after-hours access to the buildings can be problematical too.) Instead there are compulsory (or as good as) "team-building" exercises of doubtful utility.

    Any sort of fun in the office. I used to lighten the mood sometimes with cartoons/caricatures of the managers. That would be called "career-limiting behaviour" these days.

  16. Peter 16

    We've lost our marbles. One way we show that is by the way we don't tell people the truth. Some of the 'luminaries' to do with the protest in Wellington are addled, of extremely limited intellect and well, fuckwits.

    Five of you are going to a function. One is totally pissed and has never driven a car before. Four of you get in as passengers to let him drive you the 31km of wet slippery poorly lit road to it. You don't say "No way, you are totally incapable," because you don't want to hurt his feelings. So he takes charge.

    And we don't say 'piss off Noddy to some clearly delusional noddy in Wellington who is doing all in his power to get to run the country or force us to accept other similar noddies.

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