The best piece in New York mag’s recent ~The Future~ issue is Max Read’s prediction that In 2029, the Internet Will Make Us Act Like Medieval Peasants which, honestly, is pretty generous in not assuming that we already are. Basically, Read makes a case for how technology, amongst other unseen, all-powerful forces, is forcing us to act in the same bizarre, irrational ways that people in ye olden times did in order to instill some sense of order and logic in their lives.
This is the paragraph I’m gonna be thinking about forever:
In my own daily life, I already engage constantly with magical forces both sinister and benevolent. I scry through crystal my enemies’ movements from afar. (That is, I hate-follow people on Instagram.) I read stories about cursed symbols so powerful they render incommunicative anyone who gazes upon them. (That is, Unicode glyphs that crash your iPhone.) I refuse to write the names of mythical foes for fear of bidding them to my presence, the way proto-Germanic tribespeople used the euphemistic term brown for “bear” to avoid summoning one. (That is, I intentionally obfuscate words like Gamergate when writing them on Twitter.) I perform superstitious rituals to win the approval of demons.
Looks like we maaaaybe aren’t such rational creatures even after all this time, eh? But let’s be honest, what else are we supposed to do when the night is dark and full of misinformation and god/the algorithm could change its mind at any second???