Acknowledging absence: The mental demands of our digitised world

“The demands of modern adult life”, wrote Robert Kegan in 1994, “may require a qualitative transformation in the complexity of mind every bit as fundamental as the transformation from magical thinking to concrete thinking required of the school-age child, or the transformation from concrete thinking to abstract thinking required of the adolescent”. Kegan wrote this when the internet was barely learning to crawl[1]: In 1993, only 1 percent of information flowing through two-way telecommunication went through its channels

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Elephants Crying on Trees in the Desert: Notes for an Ode to the Web (Part I)

In the beginning was the web. Today, there are some who claim that it is a relatively recent phenomenon[1]. This is wrong. It was always there: The space where everything is everything, everything is nothing, nothing is everything, and nothing is nothing[2]. Then, there was some curiosity, then some tinkering, and eventually some infrastructure emerged: Ἀκαδημία here, γυμνάσιον there, forum here, þing there, monastery here, market place there, all the way to the legacies of Haussmann, Schumacher, or Speer[3]. And then email, websites, social media, mobile apps.

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