Do we romanticise pre-digital life?

I thought this was a lovely point by Zoe Williams about the tendency to romanticise pre-digital life, imagining infinite reserves of attention existing in the absence of contemporary digital technologies:

Item three: some people – on this occasion, definitely not my kids – seem to think that we were all much more profound when we didn’t have the internet. They will acknowledge that we didn’t know anything, because you had to go to a library to look things up, which is the same as knowing nothing; but they’re under the impression that, without trivial distraction, we were on a constant journey of discovery through complex thought or the natural world. That’s not how I remember it at all. Early childhood was all baking crisp packets to see if they would shrink so you could turn them into a badge; adolescence was all inhaling everyday household sprays to see if they would make you high. It was, in many ways, like a live-action version of the internet – plough a large amount of time into an activity that, even if it works, is still dumb – and no more meaningful for that.

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