Monday, August 31, 2015

Offline

For three months - or more accurately, two - I was off the internet, and it was glorious.

By some stroke of luck, all my personal gadgets cumulatively ceased working, and after some perfunctory attempts at repair, I sat back and decided to let it all go. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't difficult.

Despite all our angst about Change - things changing, people changing, people coming, people going, getting older, life changing - we are remarkably so attuned to the process of habituation that we  often lose out on the experience of actualization, the process itself of transformation, of really noticing what we are becoming.

I was reading actual newspapers. Reading actual, physical, books. So used was I to my tablet's e-reader functionalities that severally I found myself pressing my finger to a word on paper waiting for the browser function to materialize.

I was walking around listening to my surroundings. Sitting and hearing the people around me, or just that sound of outsideness that comes with the act of walking down the street. No longer was I selectively excluding the natural soundtrack with a neverending playlist that went on as soon as I stepped out and went off as soon as I stepped in.

No longer were my eyes diverted to a polygon of illuminated text or graphics that had somehow superimposed itself over the actual vast universe. I revelled again in the swaying of trees, in finding five million variations to the blue of the skies, in experiencing the secrets of the wind on my face without distraction. I watched clouds, counted birds in their flocks, watched ants trek the arduous distance of one foot.

Certainly, I had to use the computer at work, which accounted for 8 hours of a day, but suddenly I had overcome the inexplicable trance that infects us all; that strange urgency to have to stay in touch with x number of people contacts. For the period I relinquished technology I almost simultaneously became a hermit. Yet in this regard I was not exactly lonely. Perhaps that's where the urgency arises - we find import in the communication of others: each text message, email, ping is an instance of verification of our own very existence.

Is it troubling that our very being is thus reliant? Or simply inevitable? I couldn't say; only that for a period of time life became a little less superficial and more easygoing. For whatever it was worth, I had let go of something that until then subconsciously I must have given it permission to make me feel as if it was the thing which had a grip on me.

It was only when I stopped struggling with the withdrawal, accepted being offline, and embraced my surroundings and therein myself, that I made the trip to the electronics store, purchased soldering equipment and set to working fixing my gadgets that I am able to say: hello, I'm back.

7 comments:

  1. I have never been totally cut of from technology, but I had my share. No, it didn't last for 2 months or even say a day. Because technology is something I sometimes rely on all the time. I know it is a sort of cliche and that people all around the world say the same. In my occasional, let's call it fate, my battery dies out, for reasons unknown and I am unfortunately in a new place exploring the city and there I am staring at my mobile cursing how could it just abandon me like that.So, to pass the time, I look around, I do have a novel in the bag but it wasn't the ideal place to read. I tell myself, I would rather read people, listen to the noises all around, and nature yes, yes enjoy the nature. As it turns out, people are more interested in selfies than talking to people, and too much public display of affection (which in this part of the world is still learning to understand and commonize) which looks too good to be true. It's obvious by the looks of it that it isn't love that we so want it to be. And then the nature, the noises, and everything seems mundane, kind of. I stare back at the mobile - battery down.
    Then I prefer that corner place at the coffee shop with a book in my hand.
    (Wait a second, I am writing too much and off topic).

    Anyway, so what is going to happen now? A bit of technology or totally offline?

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    Replies
    1. You're the prime speciment type of my rant. LOL 'Nough said.

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  2. well - hello there again, hot nerdy babe ;)

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  3. I envy you, I do. I think my gadgets need to go kaput as well, because I have no self-control when it comes to technology.

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  4. Stop demonizing my technology..
    Today's technology is tomorrow's nature.
    Today's technology is tomorrow's culture.
    So stop blaming your inability to moderate, on my technology and the society.

    Yes... I'm a techie.

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