Scientific Research & Self-Development Activism
I'm coming out of a one year long experiment where I lived with as little contact with the Internet as was humanly possible for a year. Actually to be fair, I lived without Internet and Television. I had a lot of reasons for doing this, some personal, some financial, but it was a great opportunity to see how I would cope with solving problems, entertaining myself, and keeping in touch with friends without the World Wide Web.
Now that the experiment is over, (and the other reasons for isolating myself are over) I'm looking forward to Comcast installing our cable connection tomorrow morning. I've got a lot of catching up to do! But, the question I want to pose is this: "Does the Internet stunt our growth sometimes?"
One of the biggest changes I noticed during my "dark period" without the web was that I interacted with my family much more often than before. I was forced to communicate with people face-to-face much more often to entertain myself, solve problems, etc. Can I say that this forced me to grow? Well I can say for sure that it forced me to learn how to cope with conflict better. People by nature come into conflict from time to time, and the way we deal with conflict on the Internet tends to be very different from how we would deal with it in person. On the Internet we can be as cold and brutal as we want and we don't feel very bad about it because we never see the faces of the people that we are talking to. In person, we tend to be much more political and tempered in our responses.
The biggest reason I always ran to the Internet was to avoid any form of conflict that could actually hurt me. Debates that took place online had an almost clinical sterility to them which made them feel safe to me. The problem with the approach that I've been taking though, is that online relationships and community are not rewarding in the same way that face-to-face community is. While I definitely appreciate my I-Power friends and family, there is a limit to what they can offer me in terms of comfort and friendship. I've enjoyed my time re-learning my parents and siblings. I've enjoyed becoming more en-tuned with my wife.
Have you ever unplugged for an extended period of time?
What were the results?
I know after my experience, I think we all need to unplug from time to time. :)
I agree whole heartedly about the Internet being a great place to get your news. In fact one of I Power's original causes being net neutrality is no coincidence I'm sure. :) Independent news sources flourish on the web and offer a perspective often very different than the mainstream. I think it is yet to be shown if it is actually more accurate, but getting your information from multiple sources is always a good idea.
Television really is in a dismal state right now, but I'd say none quite as bad as American television. I've begun watching almost everything on the BBC, simply because it is far better quality than anything produced here in the states.