April 21, 2018 | Rome, Italy | °C

Memex to the present

By Christopher P. Winner
Published: 2015-01-05

Now, however, such quasi-philosophical and socioeconomic thinking may no longer be optional. Questions abound.

• How will connectedness influence future government and human relationships, since many such relationships are now forged and maintained virtually, with public interaction often less regular and the distinction between social and antisocial behavior losing its distinction?

• Will cultural and political criticism that increasingly depends on snap judgments permit any form of objective detachment, whether in law or politics?

• As democratized thinking continues to welcome all incoming information, and likewise ideas, will the growing thicket allow for perspective?

• With rambling populists including Beppe Grillo and French National Front leader Marine Le Pen — as well as online-friendly figures such as Renzi — putting casual irreverence ahead of stodgy ancien rιgime political discourse, how will future statesmanship be defined and function? What, aside from transmitted tidbits, will permit any politician to stand out?

• Is the ever-widening catalogue of choice and options further civilizing the human condition or generating unconscious anxiety based on a "too-muchness" few choose to recognize?

• Will the instantaneous sharing of extreme global suffering make populations more sensitive to such suffering, and determined to extinguish it, or will they instead behave only as voyeurs who then return to private concerns, reasoning as the late Susan Sontag did in 2002 that the awfulness to which they are made instantly privy is "too vast, too irrevocable, too epic to be much changed by any local, political intervention."

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