After the year of “reflection” that the long Covid break of 2020 has provided humanity, Year One of the World After, or the “Digital Age”, takes us on a trip “through the looking glass”.
Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass was written as a sequel to Alice in Wonderland in 1871, the year the German Empire was proclaimed. It was Year One in another new era, in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, that brought in independence movements in Eastern Europe (Young Czech party, et al.), a popular revolution in France (that was violently repressed – Paris Commune) and social advances in England and the Netherlands (trade unions and worker status), sowing the seeds of the First and Second World Wars.
It is not surprising that his work strikes such a chord today, with 2021 shaping up to be the opposite of what we knew before. Last month, we were talking about the underworld rising up, but it’s also about the entire world economy and society going through the digital looking glass – the complete shift of economic and cultural developments from West to East, the reversal of the centre of gravity between Europe and the United States in the transatlantic relationship, the switch of humanitarianism to the cyber-sphere, the loss of generations that knew a time before the Internet, etc.
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