Ours is the first generation to have grown old with the internet. In addition to losing illusions as the hormones subside, we now have the worldwide web stripping them away too. A double dose of disillusion. No wonder we are so curmudgeonly.
Admittedly we have always known politicians to be the kind of people one would not invite into one's own home. We have always known how newspapers love drama and hate analysis because drama rakes in the lucre where analysis doesn’t. Or rather it used to rake in the lucre. We have always known that the BBC is not populated with the decently clever people we one assumed it was designed for. We certainly know that celebrities are more appalling than appealing.
However, we did not know all this with the forcible certainty the web insists on. It seems to relish hosing the scales from our ageing eyes. The world is even more ghastly than we were ever supposed to know and the internet rams home the ghastliness with sadistic pleasure.
Yet from another perspective the world isn’t ghastly at all. In the developed world life is good. The web shows us that too. On the whole we are comfortable, well fed and healthy. On one level there is little to moan about as we sip our coffee and wonder how the world actually works, but like an overly informative valet the web persists in feeding us with interesting snippets.
Sooner or later we may have to adapt - dread word. But we may have to adapt to life with fewer illusions. It is bound to be traumatic for some poor souls.