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Becoming More Human By The Day
October 14, 2011
12:10 am
Currently: Northeast US
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 32
Member Since:
July 8, 2011
Offline

"You did what??"

That's the typical response I get when I tell someone I gave away my gaming consoles, cancelled my cell phone service and deleted my facebook page.

The concept of simplifying one's life isn't exactly an alien one, but to do so to such a degree as I have in this age stuns and confuses most.

The bottom line: I have never felt more in control of my life as I do at this moment.

I don't oppose the use of tools and resources available to us in this exciting electronic age, but I'm getting a strange feeling now as if I'm one of the rare few who can see how the devices and technologies designed to enhance communication and bring people together are imperceptibly tightening a stranglehold on (almost) everyone, divorcing people from one another physically, emotionally, psychologically, and absolutely crippling our ability to communicate meaningfully, face-to-face, in the same room.

In the 1988 John Carpenter film THEY LIVE, aliens have infiltrated humanity and hide their people and subliminal messages for population control in plain sight.  The only way to see them for what they are is with special glasses...

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming that aliens are secretly trying to take over our lives and our ability to think critically [the government and the media do a fine job of that overtly].  I'm saying that at this moment, I feel like I'm wearing those special glasses, looking around at the truth of things to which many are blissfully ignorant.

As a people we have leashed ourselves with the very things we designed to serve us.  We slouch at computer desks, miserable, atrophied.  We slouch on the subway, head down, texting banalities.  We drag our feet on the sidewalk, zombified, distracted.  We grow fat, lazy and stupid... most of us.

Well, I for one will not be counted in those numbers.  I refuse!  I woke from that nightmare long ago and have promised myself that I would ruthlessly excise all that which impeded the realization of my potential AS A HUMAN.  I followed through on that promise by telling AT&T where they could shove their billing statement and by telling Fakebook to delete all record and likeness of me in that cesspool of useless data.  I'm determined to live in ACTUAL reality.  I will reserve the virtual version for the hopeless escapists of my species.  I am moving forward, eating real food, making real human connections, having actual conversations with others of like pack and enjoying actual, natural silence where I find it.

I haven't felt this good in a long time, and I look forward to hunting deeper into the woods of my life to destroy with impunity any single thing which rears its head to threaten me.  

I am a human.  I will spend my time as a human and nothing else.  This is the call, the signal fire.  Can anyone else hear me?  Are there others who can see?

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In the spirit of the hunt, Rob
October 14, 2011
6:21 am
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 365
Member Since:
June 5, 2011
Offline

I've taken the opportunity recently with a potential house move to get ahead with all those accounts that are linked to particular address or a particular provider, which may or may not be available to the next place, and streamline my digial lifestyle.

I'm not on Facebook and only have a Twitter account that is linked to my food blog. I don't have a personal mobile phone either. I am on literally dozens of forums under various pseudonyms and some my own name, and it's those which I have slimmed back to a mere few which (1) feed me and I am able to contribute back to, and (2) I am able to directly instruct and help others with skills and knowledge with which I am advanced.

The process was liberating. I have a lot more time and can concentrate my time of a few areas which I consider truly important.

Chatting with a pal over lunch today, we were discussing free online services, the state of constant advertising and the likes of forums, social networking and so on, and came to the conclusion that if you do not pay for a service then you are neither client nor consumer; YOU are the product.

This may, or may not be, a bad thing, particularly if you have something good to say and especially so if you are the product for a larger corporation like Google, Facebook or Twitter. If you have something truly good to share then you are a good product, regardless of the fact that they are making money off you. Thank goodness we're liberated from the notion that money is the be all and end all of living.

Once you are streamlined you have a lot of time to do things the hard way ... just for fun, for the challenge, to push beyond your abilities and above all, to avoid laziness which is a whirpool of a downward sprial. A challenging post - many thanks.

As for mind-control, maybe not aliens, but corporations. Just look at all those poor food zombies shambling around, "GRAAAIIIINNNNSSS!!!!" Surprised

OBEY! Laugh

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
October 14, 2011
6:26 am
Currently: Northeast US
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 32
Member Since:
July 8, 2011
Offline

Note:

Yes, I recognize the irony of this being posted on an internet message board.

Some of my very best friendships and communication have come about via electronic media, and the internet can be an outstanding research tool (and place where some of my best games of speed chess have been played).

My main take-away is that when such things begin to stifle growth and encroach on one's time spent in the real world, we shouldn't be afraid to commit to a power re-grab, essentially reclaiming one's life from what has the potential to be a self-constructed electronic indoor deathtrap.

Go outside!

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In the spirit of the hunt, Rob
October 14, 2011
6:28 am
Currently: Northeast US
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 32
Member Since:
July 8, 2011
Offline

Paul Halliday said:

As for mind-control, maybe not aliens, but corporations. Just look at all those poor food zombies shambling around, "GRAAAIIIINNNNSSS!!!!" Surprised


 

This is a stroke of comedic genius.

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In the spirit of the hunt, Rob
October 14, 2011
6:42 am
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 365
Member Since:
June 5, 2011
Offline

Next time you're in the supermarket, shamble up the cereals aisle, arms straight out, milk dripping from mouth ...

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
October 15, 2011
1:15 pm
Halifax, UK
Gnoll
Forum Posts: 365
Member Since:
June 5, 2011
Offline

While it is ironic, it's also perfectly sane. Modern hunger/gatherers have mobile phones nowadays!

The internet is not a bad thing. Computers are not a bad thing. These are tools and means of communication. If anything, this IS what the internet was founded for - people in diverse locations coming together to share knowledge, experience, skills and to build each other up.

I like the internet - I spend a lot of time building relationships on the internet and in many communities take that into reality, meet up and become strong real friends. I like to take online groups and have them meet up be it the local Flickr group, a national car forum, some geeky car detailing types, paleo and paleo curious people, whatever. The internet is a means to an end.

Most of the internet is rubbish - it's ... what 90% porn? and that last 10% drivel on social networks along the lines of "should I have KFC or Pizza Hut tonight?" and that last 0.1% people like us who are making some real use of the technology.

Given the digital alternative of TV, I'd rather be on the internet chatting or gaming.

Given a real alternative, I'd rather be outside walking, running, talking to neighbours, washing and polishing our cars, maintaining the house or cooking.

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Living in the Ice Age http://livingintheiceage.pjgh.co.uk
October 16, 2011
7:45 pm
First-Eater
Forum Posts: 2105
Member Since:
February 22, 2010
Offline

I see this all the time.  Kids sitting across the room from each other and TEXTING each other instead of talking, and the general attitude that "if I can't take a picture of it with my phone and immediately send it to my friends, it didn't happen. 

People spend all their time trying to record a moment, and no time actually experiencing the moment.  It's like we're so used to mediated experience that real life isn't viewed as anything particularly desirable: it's just raw material to turn into a Youtube video so you can brag about what you did. 

This attitude speaks to a very deep-seated insecurity: what we do only has worth inasmuch as other people notice and comment on it.  And that is encouraged at every turn, because it's profitable.  If an experience can be mediated, the mediator will be charging a toll, either explicitly or through putting up advertising next to you.  For example, paying $80/month (that's almost $1000/year!) plus a couple hundred for a "smartphone" is viewed as an absolutely necessary expense.  Hell, not paying an extra $10+/month for "texting" privileges is viewed as backward, when the phone company doesn't even use any extra data to send or receive them!  (Texts piggyback on dead space in status messages.)

I remember summiting Mt. Tallac on a ski tour, one fine spring day, while a group of four arrived not long after us.  Immediately upon summiting, they called their buddies on their cell phones: they couldn't even wait to ski down before bragging about what they had done.

 

Note that this commodification of lived experience was the central problem that the Situationists brought to light and attempted to solve, with varying degrees of success.  If you haven't yet read Vaneigem's "Revolution of Everyday Life" (free online versions are available), I believe you'll find it extremely relevant. 

 

As for me, it's not so much the technology as whether I've let it control me.  I got the "living online" thing out of my system in earlier days of the Internet.  I have a cell phone because I don't have a land line, and it spends a lot of its time powered off.  And I've always been lazy as far as social media is concerned: I never had a Myspace page, and I only joined Facebook so I could make a page for The Gnoll Credo.

I hope you find the humanity you seek.  Communication is wonderful, because it enables places like this one — so long as we remember that we're in charge of the machines, not the other way around.

Live in freedom, live in beauty.

JS

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