After the Great Net: TOH ENJOE
April 6, 2015
Author TOH ENJOE shares his vision for the 2036 workplace in a 7-part series (four short stories and three conversations). This is the prologue to the short stories. What awaits us when we awake in the future from the dream of a computerized society? Madness or paradise?
I recall that the Internet age was difficult. That might have been because it was the age of the dream of computerization, the dream of a single path to paradise.
Nowadays, I think of it more like The Great Gatsby. Or, no – maybe The jazz age. Definitely the madness of the 1920s.
A recovery from a recession and the realization of mass production. The availability of products that had existed previously but hadn't yet reached the masses: cars, movies, radios. Infrastructure was built for electricity, indoor plumbing, and road networks, while skyscrapers sprouted and urbanization picked up speed.
Usually, you can't grasp the whole of it just from reading letters on a page.
People don’t necessarily understand what's written down just because they've read something, even if they know all the words.
Whatever the case, I didn't understand The Great Gatsby. Gatsby was just a guy who got rejected, but he was also a bit like a scheming stalker. I didn't think that could be all there was to the story.
That was the whole of the story, if you look at it that way.
It seemed like the Internet age was over, but it wasn't. We'd gotten used to it and didn't really notice it anymore, kind of like how automobiles just became part of the normal everyday.
Getting stuck in a traffic jam was just part of what happens with cars. For general-purpose computers, we got used to them being the all-in-one everything tool, like a Swiss Army knife equipped with a dryer and a fork and a pencil and a Petri dish. The Internet altered our concept of privacy, showing us things that maybe didn't even need to be seen, and teaching us that most people think the same way – or at least, don't think that much – and we all got used to that.
Some people thought maybe it would be better if things went back to the way they were. They argued that we should forget about fire and just go back to living in trees. If we did – did they think that Mr. Gatsby’s wish come true?
Nowadays, I feel as if I understand a little better what The Great Gatsby was about.
It might be fairer to write about what brought the jazz age to its end: The Great Depression.