An update from our favorite French writer, opining on the long-term effects of COVID-19 as Western Civilization continues atomizing itself:
For quite a few years, all technological developments, whether minor (video on demand, contactless payment) or major (teleworking, Internet shopping, social networks) have mainly been consequence (for main objective?) of reducing material contact, and especially human contact. The coronavirus epidemic offers a magnificent reason for this heavy trend: a certain obsolescence that seems to strike human relations.
He makes a good point. Obliterating culture with diversity made us aliens, enshrining jobs as holy through regulations and social security made us drudges, and the rising crime, disorder, corruption, and general meanness of the population makes us shut-ins.
I observed this years ago when living in a small apartment. People would move in with basically nothing, but then truck in a big ol’ fifty-inch television and hook up to the fast cable service. They went to work, stopped by Whole Foods for two servings of prepared foods, and then holed up at home at night and on the weekends.
Phones and social media — both of which exploded in 2007 — made this worse, because you could sit on your sofa, drinking Merlot, and connect to the world while pretending you had a social life. In the meantime, the curtains were drawn and you had pleasant music going behind the television, to filter out the world.