The problem of a society undergoing acceleration is that people crave an ever greater variety of social experiences out of the sheer sense that they must “keep up.” The semantics of contemporary life suggest obligation: “I must read the newspaper”; “I ought to play the piano more”; “I really need to keep up to date.” Both TV and the internet deliver a sense of experiencing a lot very quickly, with abandon, in a way that becomes loathed as much as desired. Time spent watching TV feels rich in stimuli — the joy of Game of Thrones is not just that its characters are dispatched with regularity, but that the show is punctuated by the occasional thrilling bloodbath — but poor in its lasting effects. “TV,” writes Rosa, “apparently tends to leave behind tired, hardly recuperated spectators who are in a bad mood.” The internet, too. What they also leave behind are people whose lives are full of frenetic activity, but impoverished of a sense of lasting experience — flat individuals, nodes or nerve endings in a network that stretches out endlessly in a shrinking present.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
No Time Left for You