The Internet vs Real Life

We are truly blessed to live in an era that allows us to communicate, one to one and at scale, via technology.

We are privileged to be in a position to build relationships with people we might never have met in real life.

We are only beginning to appreciate the possibilities that the Internet brings to all of us, wherever we are in the world.

Last November a family trip took me to Florence, where in the 15th and 16th centuries Brunelleschi and da Vinci and Michelangelo and Galileo and hundreds of the brightest minds in the history of humanity congregated to propel mankind forward.

Today, March 19th, 2020, Florence is a city where hardly a soul moves as Italy grapples to control the crisis that has crashed on its shores this past month.

Today, in Florence and all over the world, the brightest minds can assemble online, can collaborate from wherever they are, can run a profitable, scalable business from a garage in the countryside.

But all of this social distancing and virtual conferencing and work-from-home-by-necessity brings one thing into sharp relief: the beauty of the real world, the one outside and away from our screens.

The Internet and all the technology that is built upon it is a powerful tool, one that will help scientists and researchers and medics come up with the treatments and the vaccines that will help humanity overcome the current collective threat.

But the Internet can also be a pale facsimile of real life.

While we physically withdraw from each other and leverage the undoubted power of virtual reality and try to do what’s required to stay healthy, the current pause can allow us to stop and wonder at the real world around us.

The feel of morning dew-wet grass under our bare feet.

The miracle of fresh air sucked deep into our lungs.

The tangible wonder and otherworldly wisdom of a physical book.

Wherever you are, I hope that fear and anxiety are the worst of your problems, and that you may find it possible to breathe in the wonder of the real world that all of us can sometimes take for granted.