On a Need to Know Basis

An unexamined life is not worth living. An unexamined world is not worth living in. In the age of information, examination is the natural thing to do. We have the material, and we certainly don’t lack the tools. Splashed with torrents of information every day, the only way to stay on top of the wave is to examine, survey, and scrutinise the environs. Hacking our way through the data thicket, we can’t afford to stop and ask why we’re doing it, why we’re trekking at all. Every second counts, slowing down is not an option.

The coronavirus crisis has taught me one thing, and, as it usually happens, it is also a paradox. It is harder to breathe in times of pandemics, even when the crowded streets clear, the busy public transport pauses and the air gets cleaner. The effect of this objective liberation is a subjective subjugation, an enslavement to the present moment. Responsible for this new captivity is the media. We might have stood a chance to find breathing space in peacetime when not everything one hears or reads about is about the same thing, when moving your body or even your head promises new sights and new sounds. During this crisis and this lockdown, there is no hope of anything new. It feels as if all novelty has been soaked up by the membrane of the novel coronavirus.

I already feel the waters rising around me, and the only way to stop the overflow is to dam up the inflow of media streams. I’m switching to a regime of on-a-need-to-know basis.

Monotony is as contagious as the next virus, and it seems everyone’s infected.

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