Monday, August 31, 2015


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.