February 16th, 2004


Mental Geography

The Internet, to most people, has a geography without distance. There are entities that feel like places, but no place is any further from you than any other. If you know the address, you know how to get there, and the time it takes to get there is dependent on traffic and bandwidth, but not by physical distance. North Korea is the same distance from me as The Daily Iowan.

When you're in a big city with a Subway system, and you've got a day pass, the city begins feeling similar -- you can get on anywhere and get off anywhere. Cost and distance aren't an issue. Travel times vary of course, but the metaphorical feeling is similar to bopping around the Internet.

Memory does the same thing with time. Yesterday is no more real to me than my 12th birthday, and every bit as vivid, if not moreso. It's dizzying; the sense of personal continuity over time makes me forget who I am now. I still feel as though I am that 'I' that experienced the summer of 1969. Would the 'I' of then recognize the 'I' of now, and would that 'I' be disappointed, amused, or ...?