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Connectedness and its Discontents

Connectedness is actually a quandary. Often assumed to be a better state of affairs than being disconnected, the state of connectedness, upon closer examination, is not necessarily voluntary or desirable. Indeed, when E. M. Forster chose “Only connect . . .” as an epigraph to his novel Howards End, he surely wasn’t thinking—it is safe to say—of the kind of connectedness among polities that Professor Wayne Logan describes in his rich, measured, and illuminating article. This should come as no surprise. Forster was exalting the weightless energy of passionate encounter. Logan’s research, by contrast, reveals the potential gloominess of connectedness.