If you spend even HALF that time in a given day dealing with your techno-responsibilities, when do you have time for yourself? For your family? For your friends? And I'm not talking about posting on their wall or sending them an @reply on Twitter....
With this website and my frequent articles, I spend EVEN MORE time online. The other night, I was up until 2am doing exactly what I'm describing here. If you're like me, you may also use these techno-outlets to publicize your work in some way, or yourself--increase your networking to increase your networth, so to speak. That's just the excuse we use. We justify our ridiculous commitment to what Jean Baudrillard called "hyperreality" because it is ridiculous...and deep down, we know it.
Jean Baudrillard, a French sociologist and by all counts, socio-political theorist, was so concerned about the growing devotion to the virtual and hyperreal as technology evolved, he felt it would create what he termed an "integral reality," or a reality based on the artificial. Like me sitting in front of a lighted box for six hours in a given day when only about 17 of every 24 hours are hours I'm awake. That means that between the moments where you have to do meet your physical needs, which can take up about three or so hours in a give day total, and the time spent in the hyperreality on the techno-grid, we're really only looking at about 8 productive hours--and if you work--that's the end of your day. No time to talk to your spouse. No time to read to your children. No time to be alone with yourself in the quiet of a pleasant summer evening as the sun sets in the distance. And yes, the sun does still do that...even if you're in some darkened little room clacking away on keys until all hours.
It's hard not to get caught up in the techno-grid. It is lovely to connect with SO many people in SO little time. If you pick up the phone to talk to someone, you may get the same kind of communications in that one hour that you could have delivered to potentially hundreds of other people...and on Twitter, you can make that thousands. Tempting, tempting...a little TOO tempting, if you know what I mean.
Our lives are short. Even trees live longer than humans (if left alone, of course). On average, a person has about 75 years or so...even if you live to 100, some of that time will surely include so many physical and even cognitive losses, you will be more limited than you may be today. And no, I'm not getting morbid. This is reality. Human reality. So why then, if we barely have 8 decades of life to live, would we choose to spend SO MUCH of that time interacting with essentially no one and nothing??? You know that life is about shared experience, don't you? With actual people, right? It's not about green paper, or gold and silver metals or whether or not a particular company is losing value in the market. It's not about sitting in your cubicle. It's not about making copies of the memo for a meeting. We only do those things to LIVE actual life--but what happens is just the opposite.
We're tired after our time spent making monry to afford living life. We're so tired, we don't want to call someone and spend an hour talking. We don't want to sit down with our family and start a conversation. Those things appear to be a "waste of time" in our hyperreality where we can just plug into the grid and talk to hundreds, even thousands--and within a much shorter time frame. But we're cheating ourselves. Everyday.
Even now, I feel the pull of the actual people in my house. Each of us clacking away in our own spaces, on our own machines, artificial light filling our faces.
So I'm going off the grid--not forever, just for a short time. There are SO many blog articles now, you can probably go for months and still have fresh material to read. My next new entry will be on Monday, August 16th. Well, at least that's what I'll try for. We'll see how this experiment goes. In the meantime, try to do the same...at least for the upcoming weekend. Go off the grid and get into REAL life again...not just for a few hours...but for a few days.
Good luck, dearest readers...until the 16th!