I guess those first months felt so good because I felt the absence of the pressures of the internet. My freedom felt tangible. But when I stopped seeing my life in the context of “I don’t use the internet,” the offline existence became mundane, and the worst sides of myself began to emerge.
I would stay at home for days at a time. My phone would die, and nobody could get ahold of me. At some point my parents would get fed up with wondering if I was alive, and send my sister over to my apartment to check on me. On the internet it was easy to assure people I was alive and sane, easy to collaborate with my coworkers, easy to be a relevant part of society.
So much ink has been spilled deriding the false concept of a “Facebook friend,” but I can tell you that a “Facebook friend” is better than nothing.
My best long-distance friend, one I’d talked to weekly on the phone for years, moved to China this year and I haven’t spoken to him since. My best New York friend simply faded into his work, as I failed to keep up my end of our social plans.
I fell out of sync with the flow of life.
There’s a lot of “reality” in the virtual, and a lot of “virtual” in our reality.
My plan was to leave the internet and therefore find the “real” Paul and get in touch with the “real” world, but the real Paul and the real world are already inextricably linked to the internet. Not to say that my life wasn’t different without the internet, just that it wasn’t real life.
I’d read enough blog posts and magazine articles and books about how the internet makes us lonely, or stupid, or lonely and stupid, that I’d begun to believe them. I wanted to figure out what the internet was “doing to me,” so I could fight back. But the internet isn’t an individual pursuit, it’s something we do with each other. The internet is where people are. —
‘I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet’
Very interesting article by Paul Miller about logging off from the Internet for one year trying to reconnect to his ‘real self’ and finally realizing that reality and virtuality are already too closely linked to each other.
The Bridge Personality: People who connect cultures play a vital role in an increasingly connected world.
“Most of us can’t aspire to be bridge figures—we’re simply not rooted in multiple cultures. But we can aspire to be xenophiles. It’s my argument that we must. The world we live in is so complicated and interconnected that solving many problems requires openness, understanding, and the ability to communicate with people from different cultures…
Bridge figures face the challenge of finding people who are willing to listen and try to understand the variety of global and cultural dialogs. Xenophiles face the challenge of locating and listening to these different voices without being overwhelmed by the roar of the Internet. For those of us who believe that we benefit commercially, creatively, charitably, or politically from encountering a wider world, the challenge is figuring out how to make the Internet more powerful for xenophiles and bridge figures alike.”
Image and quote from frog
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013 on Hypebeast
Yummy new coffee at Sourced & Sold in the heart of the Jordaan. Give it a try!