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Living in a Bubble: From Actual to Virtual

July 3rd, 2021 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, what happens when the frame of reference shifts off its axis?

I remember the day quite distinctly. It was a Friday in late March 2020. All of the staff in our department was called into a meeting in the boardroom. We were told that the office was staying open for now while senior management continued to monitor the pandemic situation. We were told to take our laptops home for the weekend just in case.

On Sunday, we all received a call from our manager advising that in 48 ours the situation had changed and we would be working from home until further notice. None of us imagined that fifteen months later we would still be doing so with the end date still up in the air.

Now the official word has come down from senior management. When the office reopens (date still to be determined), we will be shifting to a hybrid work at home / in the office model (details still to be determined). It is the new normal we were all cautioned to expect.

So it can be asserted, grudgingly in my case, that the world changed forever that day or thereabouts. Whether it actually needed to do so is now moot. We crossed a threshold to a new era and there is no turning back.

In the years to come, an army of experts will study and analyze how human behaviour has changed as a result. They will have annual forums to present their findings and debate whether we are at the thin or thick edge of the wedge. My prediction: They will reserve judgement on that question as long as possible to squeeze out every last dollar of the research money available.

My interest in the equation is more a big picture outlook. How will our perception of the world change? Will the world feel like a smaller place or a bigger place than before?

We are much more technologically interconnected than 15 months ago which might argue for the smaller world perception. On the other hand, our face to face interactions have been reduced by a factor of as much as 50% which swings the pendulum the other way. Do the two even out to leave us roughly where we started? It will not be that simple

My hypothesis is that the terms smaller and bigger no longer apply because the frame of reference has shifted. Our perception of the world has mutated (pun intended) from actual to virtual, from sensory to intellectual. Our brains will gradually be reprogrammed to react and interpret by observation more so than by sensation.

We have entered an era of living continuously in the bubble. We can still see what is going in the world around us. But we are increasingly insulated from the touch and feel of it.

I cannot help but wonder: What happens if, or when, the bubble bursts and a correction kicks in to balance the equation? Will everything old be new again or will yet another evolution of the new normal reconfigure our lives?

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at .

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