Welcome, Heroes, to the Training Grounds of our new lives.
We have been bitten by the spider descendent of the Industrial and Digital Revolutions, and we have been given a host of new superpowers and they only come with a few drawbacks.
You know how this goes: it seems every fifth movie nowadays has one of these scenes: a series of cuts with a voiceover of a mentor explicitly stating how each of their powers works. It’s time for us to get our own expository montage showing ourselves as superior to all who came before us.
First, The Car. This is not our great-great grandfather’s Model T. With this machine, we can traverse distances in hours that would have taken our ancestors months. In the gold rush, our ancestors died of dysentery and starvation traveling from New York to San Francisco: a journey that we can make in 43 hours of driving time. Also, it pollutes the earth, gets us stuck in traffic, and we will no longer live amongst the close-knit neighborhoods and communities that have sustained humanity since the beginning of civilization.
NEXT, we get The Internet. The most efficient information machine ever devised is available at our fingertips. Any fact ever recorded is available to us. It is the depth of all the almanacs and encyclopedias ever devised with the immediacy of a crystal ball.
Also, we will be stuck working all day indoors, become addicted to porn, and instead of becoming well-rounded individuals, we will devolve into groupthink and completely ruin our ability to have civil discourse, read anything longer than 280 characters, or think.
The Internet makes each of us an omniscient god: just a very depressed one whose perceived omniscience may be the result of Fake News.
Greatest of all, The Phone. With it always being at our side, all of the advantages of The Telephone, Television, and even The Computer and Internet are magnified…. as are the drawbacks.
At any given moment, we can talk to anyone we have ever met but it’s weird to call them. Instead, we must spend minutes composing messages with our thumbs.
We will never encounter boredom again, but we will become boring.
All music ever composed is ready to grace our ears, but we will never have a favorite song for more than two weeks and music’s instant availability will reduce it to background noise.
And reality itself will seem endlessly unsatisfying to us.
Last of all, The Blog. We can now shrug off the inconveniences of publishers and peer reviews and write anything that we want for anyone who wants it. But that will only be 59 people.
Rest assured, Hero, even though all of these powers have their downsides, I am sure that all it takes for us to be happy is having a few more of them.