Sunday, December 22, 2019

How to Be Connected but Disconnected

My tracking device, that is my smartphone, got a good talking to today. I told it, Hey, listen, I'm putting some limits on this knowing-what-I'm-up-to-every-sec-of-the-day routine. I suppose the steps I took to undo my location finder (at least) will help a fraction from my info being bought and sold in an unseen exchange within a dark transaction void used by the multi-national corporations.

This romantic notion that I can somehow spare myself and my children from become marketable data or monitored targets may be a little futile. I frequently wonder what it would be like to go "off-the-grid" entirely. The grid just sounds like a torture machine. There's a certain allure to living so independently from everyone and everything "connected." People write books about disconnecting. I have several friends who have tried it or are nearly disconnected. But in truth their lives seem more connected or tuned to other things, mainly nature and art. They're doing the modern version of Walden Pond.

It's an American ideal to do everything yourself, on your own, those proverbial bootstraps. I'm not talking necessarily about living without running water or electricity. My friend who tried that on the Kansas prairie ended up retrofitting his house when he got remarried. Let's face it, we want to be comfortable.

But do these crazy smartphones of ours, that have more computing power in them than was available on the Apollo 13 mission, give us the comfort we really desire? I'd argue no. Yet I spend far too much time on my phone, and if I can't look at the notifications or check the temperature or use my calendar, I get a little agitated. The computer engineers designed them that way! Miss me when I'm gone. It's a strange feeling now to walk around without one. Maybe I need to spend a few days away from it. Maybe a few weeks. Maybe forever? Maybe I'd write more. I'm pretty sure I'd still be living and breathing and enjoying the world without it.

1 comment:

  1. "My tracking device"--very amusing... yet true. Not wanting to sell you and your family's info to corporations. Totally understandable.


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