moment of cognitive dissonance

14 May 2006, 1:53 pm

Now that I live in the future, I sometimes get dumbfounded by how much weirder it is than I ever imagined.

For instance, once I was on a computer-controlled train whizzing deep under the bowels of the military command center of a global superpower. I was just going to work (on a subway line which happened to serve the Pentagon), but it hit me suddenly just how surreal — even implausible — my commute would have seemed only a few decades earlier.

Today’s bemusement is partly inspired by yesterday’s This American Life broadcast, which retroactively examined, among other things, the oddity of the webcam phenomenon. What would you have thought if someone had told you, twenty years ago, that twenty years hence thousands of people would be competing to see whose diary had the biggest audience? I would have laughed the notion off as patently absurd.

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