Offline, our lives are hemmed in by institutions that force us to engage System 2, even when we are disinclined to. Children are taught to wait their turn before talking; grown-ups are frequently required to wait before marrying, divorcing, buying a gun. No matter how sure they may feel, scientists face peer review, lawyers face adversarial proceedings, and so forth. Also, back in the day, before instanticity, technology itself slowed us down. Printing and distributing words required several distinct stages and often multiple people; even a trip to the mailbox or a wait for the mail carrier afforded time for second thoughts. Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman, and Winston Churchill were among the many public figures who wrote what Lincoln called “hot letters,” splenetic missives that vented anger but were never mailed. (Usually. One of Truman’s rants escaped and threatened a Washington Post writer with a black eye.)

Jonathan Rauch

#Internet #SocialMedia #Links #July2019