So I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. How in 2018, we are really and truly at the end of mystery. Here’s what I mean.
When I graduated high school in 1995, if you lost touch with someone, that was it. You might be able to call 411 or look them up in the White Pages, but if a person moved away from your immediate orbit and went off the grid, that was it. They were gone. You never heard from them again, and you had no idea what happened to them. For all you knew, they could have died in a fire.
When you took pictures, you had to wait to develop the film. The best you could hope for was a one-hour photo booth, but beyond that you had no idea what was in that little envelope of prints and negatives until you’d flip through it quickly in the CVS parking lot and be like, “oh yeeeeeeah, I remember that party from three months ago, God I was so wasted.”
And if you were intimate with someone, what was under their clothes was a black hole (no pun intended). What color are their nipples? Do they have a 70’s bush? Is their dick weird? You weren’t going to find out the answers to these questions until show time. You were going in blind, and you’d better have your game face on at the moment of the big reveal.
Now because of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, you have the answers to all of these questions instantly. What’s more remarkable, even, than the volume and level of information you have access to is the size of the gulf between the total void of information that once existed, and the absolute granular level of information that exists now.
Let me illustrate this with a few scenarios:
Scenario 1: The Photograph
1995: I wonder what’s on this random roll of film?
2018: OMG DELETE
Scenario 2: The Make-Out
1995: I wonder what s/he looks like naked?
2018: Send nudes.
Scenario 3: Whatever Happened To?
1995: I wonder if so-and-so is still alive?
2018: I haven’t spoken to so-and-so in 30 years, but yet somehow I'm privy to the fact that they have an 18-month old son named Nate who ate strained carrots for dinner last night.
I’m not really saying this is good or bad. I’m just saying it’s 2018 and mystery is dead.