In a way, this points to a widespread and stunted understanding of the word “technology” as meaning “electronics and computers”, when in fact the Greek root of the word addresses techniques, skills and competencies alongside the tools needed to do the job. Agriculture is a technology; democracy is a technology. Technology does not begin and end in the garages of Palo fucking Alto. Technology is not (just) a smartphone with an app for locating a flunky to make you a sandwich.

You’re an interesting species. An interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.

The California Sunday Magazine

Yet empathy depends on imagination. A Virginia Woolf novel may not actually transport you to the streets of London in the early 20th century, but it plunges you deep into her characters’ subjectivity. I’m reminded of something I read on the author Alain de Botton’s School of Life blog: “A novel is a machine for simulating experience.” A “life simulator” that allows us safely to experience what we other­wise couldn’t. “Unaided, we are puny in our powers of empathy and comprehension, isolated from the inner lives of others, limited in our experiences, short of time, and able to encounter only a tiny portion of the world firsthand.”