For the past week or so I’ve been living without Internet at home. Curiously, I rather enjoyed it (though I’m immensely relieved to have the problem fixed). In today’s digital age, we’re constantly plugged in from the moment we wake up in the morning. Checking my email while munching on breakfast is pretty much a daily routine. It felt good to be relieved of this duty.
It’s a little disturbing to consider this nebulous web extending its reach into the nooks and crannies of our lives. Nothing ever remains private anymore, and every aspect of our existence is recorded on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. The Anthony Weiner saga is proof that text messages don’t just disappear when they are deleted- they remain stored in some kind of massive database.
So what did I do instead of surfing the net? I spent quiet times leisurely reading magazines and a book, and just pondering things in my life. This feeling of solitude and privacy has been diminished in the hyper-connected modern world. With our fast-paced lifestyle, time and space to pray, meditate and contemplate is sorely lacking. Instead we are tweeting, posting photos and status updates by the hour.
I view our online activity as a form of overexposure that mimics celebrity culture. Anyone can become famous these days by doing the silliest, most trivial act as long as it generates controversy. True glamour, like that possessed by film stars in early cinema, has largely been eroded because of the loss of mystique. It’s hard for stars to retain aura and mystique after a photo of them inebriated or flashing underwear is splashed on the cover of a tabloid. Or if they constantly post tweets that reveal the shallowness of their thoughts. The classiest people are the ones who do not feel compelled to sell themselves and put their thoughts and actions on show.
The lesson, I suppose, is to not communicate by phone or whatever kind of digital interface if you have a shadow of a doubt about the appropriateness of your words. Better to say it in person (just watch out for listening or recording devices).