Thursday, April 8, 2010

Life off line?

Artist and writer James Strum outlines his plan to leave the internet in Slate article where he confesses misgivings about turning 45 ; it's less about middle age than it is about having spent the previous decade and a half on the internet, both working and doing nothing important at all.A moving tale of middle aged anxiety, that naked moment of clarity when one realizes how much time has gone by in that fabled blur. Facts are, though, that the Internet is an integral part of our lives, intimately so, and swearing to go without it is likely to make life even more awkward than it already is. One could, of course, change their lifestyle and come to resemble a hardened survivalist subsisting solely on bare communicating essentials--newspapers, snail mail, land line telephones--but the amount of work and sacrifice required to sustain it makes me think that one , after a period, will likely come to a second moment of bewilderment and wonder what it was they were trying to prove. Difficult as it may be, the answer is that one needs to accomodate the technology that is the connecting tissue of our times and learn to use this tool as a means to get out of the house, away from the computer, engaged with the world. Being on line is a means to an end, not the end itself.