in the old days

The modern phone combines all the qualities of a library, a university and a Swiss Army knife. It is nothing short of a miracle and a friend to humankind.

The best measure of the boon these phones have been is to recall the woe of life before them. Just 15 years ago on trams and trains people buried their heads in books, newspapers and periodicals, searching for the precious little information they contained, or stared out the windows at a world going past that without Wikipedia they could not begin to understand. People knew very little then. They were lonely in ways known only to those who knew the world before Facebook and texting; and who, to escape their loneliness, made eye contact with perfect strangers and even spoke to them.

—Don Watson, “Comment: Phoney Education”, The Monthly (December 2011 – January 2012)

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