On The Blessings of Calamity and
The Burdens of Good Fortune

It Is difficult now to recall the world of the nineties. At the time it seemed like the beginning of boundless prosperity, inspired by the manifest destiny of exploring and settling the new world of cyberspace, an era in which the iron laws of gravity and economics had been abrogated, a time of challenges that called for boldness and unconditional devotion.

But at the turn of the millennium, diffidence and disappointment set in. We began to realize that the second coming might not occur in our lifetime. Limitless affluence would take longer, and more work was needed to construct hyperreal happiness. On September 11 of 2001, diffidence turned to despair and disappointment to sorrow. In retrospect we could see that in the nineties we had been turning our private spheres into cocoons of self-indulgence, and we had enveloped the public realm in a virtual fog of cell phones, pagers, beepers, personal CD players, digital cameras, and video displays.

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