03 August 2017
As someone who prides themselves on being conversant and familiar with many forms of technology, I often laugh at the reaction when I tell people that I enjoy the times when I force myself not to use technology - people tend to think this is a crazy concept, borne of lunacy from overwork. However, here's why I do it and it isn't as eccentric as it sounds.
Modern life is heavily influenced by technology - even where you think there is none, there often is a lot of technology working for you, or influencing what you do, what you get and what happens to you. Our world is more connected than ever and the idea of deliberately disconnecting is now a conscious choice.
In a digital society we have become dependent on - and often distracted by - gadgets and other technology services. Under normal circumstances they are extremely useful tools to help us do our jobs, and live our lives - in fact I would go as far as to say that modern technology is essential if you want to recover the most precious of commodities: time - the one factor we cannot control (yet).
However, like most forms of narcotic, too much technology use creates a dependency and when this happens you lose perspective and independence. I have seen many situations where there is an automatic - and very often incorrect - perception that technology is the answer to every problem. It is not.
The right technology applied correctly will be tremendously beneficial but in order to appreciate this you need to gain experience and understanding of what happens when you have to solve problems without technology.
So at regular intervals every year (or when I've reached technology overload) I go off-grid. I choose to disconnect from technology (as much as possible) and I revert to doing things and living without it.
Over the years I have found that going off-grid has helped me appreciate modern technology more when I get back to it. I learned to understand that it isn't a panacea for every problem and most importantly that technology itself is transient, ever evolving, mostly improving, but sometimes devolving too - just like human beings.
In it's simplest form, it could be reading a real physical book (to feel the sensory nature of the experience) or making something physical, where you use manual tools instead of power tools or having to actually go and visit friends, using printed timetables, maps and common sense, instead of taking the easy choice and using Facebook.
I learned how to do things, live my life, be with friends and family without technology so I could better appreciate what we gain by using technology to enhance my life. For the most part, technology is a poor substitute for actually living and doing.
Disconnecting is not as hard as it sounds, so this summer season why not try it - you may be pleasantly surprised by how well you do without technology.
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