Before the internet


Pre-internet: less of one spam, and more of another? Photograph: Fred Prouser/Reuters

What would the world be like today if we never had the internet?

Humans would be fitter, and far less liable to obesity and associated complaints afflicting couch potatoes.
Philip Stigger, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

Much more talking and meeting, much less tweeting and Facebooking.
Pat Phillips, Adelaide, South Australia

It would be a much better place to live in.
R De Braganza, Kilifi, Kenya

A bit more focused on things that really matter.
Nicholas Albrecht, Paris, France

Full of pornographic book shops.
David Kettle, Northcote, Victoria, Australia

Less impulsive.
Charlie Bamforth, Davis, California, US

We would be less knowledgable but far more directly, personally and meaningfully communicative.
Edward Black, Sydney, Australia

My computer would be in therapy for loneliness, and I would still lump spam and hotdogs in the same culinary category.
Margaret Wyeth, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

We never had the internet when we were growing up, and we read a lot, listened to music, played sport and never knew we were missing anything. If we lost it now, we would miss its speed and availability, but we wouldn’t have to put up with the tweets of the self-important.
David Isaacs, Sydney, Australia

I would be putting this answer in an envelope and slapping a stamp on it.
Doreen Forney, Pownal, Vermont, US

There would be no cyberpunks, fewer nerds, anarchists, self-appointed experts, anonymous critics, silly videos – and more qualified reference librarians.
Richard Orlando, Westmount, Quebec, Canada

The only place we’d expect to find cookies would be in a biscuit tin.
David Tucker, Halle, Germany

Another lesson unheeded

Do we ever learn?

It seems not. As we fail to learn from history we are destined to repeat it. There’s a lot of that going on right now.
Margaret Wilkes, Perth, Western Australia

Learning evolves. What we learned yesterday may need adapting to fit today’s understanding and conditions.
Mary Redmayne, Wellington, New Zealand

Only when you throw us a curve.
Anthony Walter, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Can it really be that popular?

Is there anything the matter with populism?

Is it a progressive movement or a fascist one?
Bruce Cohen, Worcester, Massachusetts, US

Are you winding me up? Everything.
Lorna Kaino, Fremantle, Western Australia

Why ask the liberal elite? Let the masses decide!
Sunil Bajaria, London, UK

Yes, demagogues.
Lawrie Bradly, Surrey Hills, Victoria, Australia

It has become far too popular.
Greg McCarry, Sydney, Australia

Any answers?

Why are there so few new songs with melodies and great lyrics?
Richard Orlando, Westmount, Quebec, Canada

What is most profoundly right about your life?
R De Braganza, Kilifi, Kenya

Send answers and more questions to [email protected]