David Weinberger writes: “I realized why I’m not as happy as I should be given the externalities of my life: I’m never done with anything. … Now everything is a goddamn thread.”
My reaction: I think people do need to finish things, maybe not all the time, but sometimes. And they need to be able to stop working from time to time, as well, even when things are unfinished, and go outside, play with the kids, climb a mountain, or just veg without being constantly plugged in. The pervasiveness of the Internet makes that harder and harder to do these days, and I think this might be at the root of the sadness that David alludes to here.
I watched “A Beautiful Mind” recently and was struck how much John Nash’s schizophrenia was like my online life: ethereal voices constantly impinging on my attention, demanding responses, distracting me from the work (and people) at hand. Only in my case it’s email messages, not hallucinations. And Nash’s office: the walls plastered with hundreds of pages torn from various magazines, random words and letters highlighted, lines linking one thing to another, the whole space a vast tangled map of mental connections made physical in paper and ink and string. Holy crap, I think now: That’s a weblog in physical form!
No wonder I so often feel out of touch, disembodied, even melancholy. Am I the only one who feels this way?