I think you know the rest: We now live on a global clock, every standardized minute counted off on the screens we stare at all day. Our world has never been so closely observed and recorded and mediated, yet our lives have never seemed more self-contained. Western societies are increasingly a matter of discrete single, couple, or family plots, private spaces designed to sustain themselves apart from any conception of a whole. That tendency toward a discretionary existence accounts for the familiarity of the floating, customized Xanadu of the Internet, as well as the hunger for community it seemed to satisfy. The clock was restarted, and the challenge to scale one’s finite sense of time against an ultimate infinity was compounded by a sense of hair-straightening acceleration—the sudden potential to experience all things, all at once. It became possible—it became progress—to live at a speed and spacelessness that held the present in an exploratory suspension. We could prospect this new world like towheads in Narnia, with the sense that life on the outside was paused where we left it, and that “together” we might invent an end to loneliness.