Friday, March 17, 2017

On the Permanent Near-Future

"The destruction of the past, or rather of the social mechanisms that link one's contemporary experience to that of earlier generations, is one of the most characteristic and eerie phenomena of the late twentieth century. Most young men and women at century's end grow up in a sort of permanent present lacking any organic relation to the public past of the times they live in." -- Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes, 1994.

In 2017, we don't live in a permanent present, but a permanent near-future. Every new law of language-policing is dictated in anticipation of the next law that will make our vocabulary more narrow and less interesting. Every frivolous Twitter post is offered in anticipation of an immediate response. Every environmental catastrophe is met with the question of whether or not it is indicative of something more catastrophic that will come upon us within the next 10 years. Everyone hopes for technology job that doesn't yet exist. Every sentence we write connects to the next sentence and breaks with the previous one...

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