La melanconia dei mezzi di comunicazione

Every object, at least in our perception of it, carries its antithesis. Behind the plenitude symbolized by the vase we sense an emptiness: the wilted bouquet rotting in a landfill. And so it is with the tools of communication. When we look at them we sense not only the possibility of connection but also, as a shadow, the inevitability of loneliness. An empty mailbox. A sheet of postage stamps. A telephone in its cradle. The dial of a radio. The dark screen of a television in the corner of a room.[…] Home and Away are the poles of our being. When we’re Home, we dream of Away, and when we’re Away, we dream of Home. Communication tools have always entailed a blurring of Home and Away. Newspaper, phonograph, radio, and TV pulled a little of Away into Home, while the telephone, and before it the mail, granted us a little Home when we were Away. Some blurring is fine, but we don’t want too much of it. We don’t want the two poles to become one pole, the magnetic forces to cancel each other out. Nicholas Carr