Proposed: Unless you’re with your kids, what’s on screen in your hand is likely more interesting and important than what’s around you. Sounds extreme, yet how could it not be true most of the time? The screen in your hand contains the entire world vs immediate locality.

This is personal for me: I grew up in very small rural town; Kids in rural towns today grow up way more connected to the world than I did. People around you not interested in same things? No problem, the screen in your hand connects you to like-minded people everywhere. People around you can’t teach you the things you want to know? No problem, the screen in your hand gives you all the information you want. The place where you live doesn’t have economic opportunity for you? The screen in your hand gives you access to global opportunities, markets.

Bastiat’s “seed and unseen”: What we see are people staring at their phones. What we don’t see are their interactions with the world. And then it comes back around: Our online virtual world enhances and improves our local physical world and our friends and family in it.

Recommend reading David Gerlenter’s “Mirror Worlds“, on how our virtual and physical worlds improve one another:

Source: Tweets – 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9



Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Great use of Frederick Bastiat’s seen and unseen. Despite some opportunity costs of our devices, the benefits are greater to many people.

  2. I mostly concur as I’ve myself been a profiteer of (un)seen connections online – be it in music, literature, or the correct way of making tea. But my guess is that amongst a good portion of the population who don’t embrace such a digital world and its social interactions to be found, there are numerous individuals who increasingly find themselves alienated and wonder what all this “society” thing is all about, questioning the foundations of civilization even in the most democratized portions of the planet. It’s a terrible feeling to have (since I used to be one of them) and it might be a cause of highly underfed egos (which I think is as bad as adults pampered with attention.) Maybe this is what Nietzsche meant by achieving a “synthesis.” Of course, they cannot be helped beyond being given a prod, after which they’ve got to bend down and pick it up (or go online, search, join, and enjoy.)

    Thanks for the book recommendation. Will try to find it at a nearby library.


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