As more of us sensibly restrict our social interactions in an effort to slow the spread of this coronavirus, we will speed up a process of virtualizing our physical world that has been playing out for decades. In 1996, I wrote the piece “Searching for the Catalog of Catalogs” for Daedalus, the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, in which I described what the virtualization of our literary culture might mean for how we experience the most intimate aspects of our lives. In a strange way, it now feels far more relevant than it did 24 years ago. If you’d like to read it, you can access it at this link.
Our need to limit our physical interactions at this time of crisis requires that we step up our efforts to connect with each other emotionally.
Together, we will get through this.
Because some people have had difficulty accessing the link above, I have also included in this PDF format. Apologies for the poor quality. This was written in an earlier technological era.