Unplugged; The Speed Of Net Life

You know those moments when you wish that life would move just a bit faster? Or those other moments when you wish life could just slow down so you could catch up? Forget about Einstein and relativity of time, but think about those moments that are in between; when life falls through the cracks. You take a few days off and suddenly returning to normalcy, or what you normally deem to be normalcy, is a Greco-Roman wrestling match with life. You feel constantly dazed and confused, not on your game, out of the loop (or a vicious cycle depending on how cynical your world view is).

And then there’s net life…

A single day away from your email, your blog, your favorite websites, your news sources, your bookmarks. Your automatically saved passwords, your cookies, your programs customized to just the way you like them, your computer; your everything. Just a single day and you’re suddenly lost.

And then returning to that state of normalcy is another fight. And you discover so much happened in those 24 hours lost. A massive array of world events that conspired to take place in your absence. Never mind two days; never mind three. Never mind taking a weekend just to feel unplugged.

We are a generation of computer-savvy, web-chic individuals who lead double lives. And while one is subject to Einstein and his theories, the other has a constant variable of progressing speed, indefinitely moving forward like a train that leaves its station whether you’re on it or not.

There’s something about the Internet that pushes our minds to a limit, a position where we are accustomed to receiving a set level of information. We are used to being constantly updated. We are used to knowing the who, what, where, when and whys of our online world, as an extension of our real world.

The Internet of course is at the heart of all this information gathering; this feeling of interconnectedness. But technology is so embedded in our lives that there is a connection between the real and the virtual. The feeling of being “unplugged” is not just a metaphor; it’s now an actual feeling, an emotion, a sensation. And vice versa: the feeling of being “connected” is now an actual emotion. Probably for the first time in human history; our minds have evolved accordingly, developing new emotions, new wavelengths, new terminologies to explain how we feel in the presence of; in the absence of.

But there’s really no time to think about all this; all this philosophical brain candy. Net life moves much too fast to give any of us time to think. Maybe that’s why taking a night to go out into the desert and sleep under the stars is all that more powerful of a human experience.

But if you’re ever feeling brave enough; if you’re ever up for a social experiment with yourself as the subject.

Try not checking your email.

Try turning off your cell phone.

Just for 24 hours.

48 hours if you’re brave.



Your Two Piasters: