I bought a new mobile phone online last week, as is quite common nowadays. You can buy virtually anything online, given you can afford the extortionist international shipping, and it occurred to me after my lavish purchase that I just bought a device I’ll eventually use for communication, on a platform deigned for communication. It was an odd moment of clarity in the modern world.
It was amusingly ironic, but fascinating at the same time, that we can basically reach out to any built up area of the world and buy something with money that’s now mostly digital in nature (and, really, doesn’t exist in traditional terms, but that’s another discussion for another day). Not only is it amazing, but it’s unbelievably convenient. Harking back to what Adrian mentioned in the first ‘Unlecture’ about how rapidly technology has evolved since the 80’s, we now have a luxury of communication and economy that would have been thought inconceivable 50 years ago. You could have probably ordered for something to be delivered in the mid-20th Century I’m sure, but those purchases would have been much more scarce and much more thoughtful, as opposed to today where I can order a gummy bear weighing 5 pounds<http://www.vat19.com/dvds/worlds-largest-gummy-bear.cfm> on a whim.
You can update your mobile phone credit, organise your imaginary money, communicate, all of that internet stuff. It was really simply a moment of realisation of what it means to live in the modern first world, and how trivial geographic distance is now.