1/I look at historical events like MLK's I have a dream speech and Woodstock and think to myself what it must have felt like to be involved. To know that the cultural zeitgeist is alive and flowing through me.
I think it's both. Sometimes when experiencing an event that takes on more weight later, it feels significant and has a huge emotional impact at the time. Sometimes it doesn't. It varies from person-to-person too - two people could attend the same event and have different responses.
I think as broadcast media declines, the sense of coherent narrative becomes less shared. It still exists, but like strands of a braid - different perspectives woven together.
@zacharius there's definitely a bit of post-hoc narrative streamlining as history gets written. The broader sentiment you raise ("are big events still possible?" feels like the lingering effects of the End of History Age
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