I think it’s possible. But tricky for the already engaged.
And if you want to engage in cyber-hermitage, you’re probably going to end up having to shift a lot of behaviours.
I’m already a little bit digital hobo, because I don’t have facebook. This slightly odd decision to spurn the largest most prolific social network already leaves me uninvited to social occasions of some of my nearest and dearest.
I can’t imagine how much worse it would get if I didn’t have my phone or twitter.
But then, not everybody is wired up yet. And until they are, it may occasionally help the head to be de-attached.
When I think of running away from the internet, I picture myself utterly withdrawing from modern life. Not just ditching the laptop, and phone, but actually getting a cottage in the countryside (something rugged and tiny and rundown and unique) and trying to forage my way to a calmer, more taoist lifestyle.
Of course, I’d not have google to tell me which plants were safe to forage, and would probably be poisoned quickly.
One of the weird things about interconnectedness, is how unprepared it allows you to be.
If you’ve got a phone with internet access, then you can normally check certain things last minute. Sure you’re suddenly limited by reception. But there’s an ease with which you can check things out or reorganise things with friends that allows a certain kind of flexibility.
But for me at least, I find the downfall is I end up tied to my computer.
Not having a world of information (useless and otherwise) at my fingertips would probably help my sleeping patterns. As I wouldn’t end up spending a couple of hours a night randomly diddling on my netbook when I should be sleeping.
And I’d probably get to work on time more often.
I still maintain that the online world can’t replace the less virtual one outside. They can complement each other. And they can provide respite from each other. And I wouldn’t want to live without either one in the long run.
But I’d like to get the balance better. For me.
Despite the apparent ubiquity. We’re still at the early adoption stage. Our cybernetic extensions are nowhere near fully integrated to the entirety of modern life. We’re still people with computers. And it’s still only the ever-increasing circle of geeks that are using them as life lines.
But that ever-increasing is an important thing to notice. We’ll all be geeks soon. And then things will start to get really complicated.
I avoid facebook because I don’t want my social life structured by a bunch of programmers on the other side of the world whose one goal is making money.
I embrace twitter because it feels more like a tool that I’m in control of.
But it’s all other people’s structures.
It’s possible the only structure I could make would be a rundown shack by a river.
And a poisonous mushroom.
Illustration by Maria.