Taking an indefinite but meaningful vacation from the online world today is, at best, difficult and, at the worst, contrived. The internet isn’t exactly at phase, at least in the microcosmic terms of evolution because now that it’s here it will continue to always be here in one form another for many, many generations. It is here to stay.
I used to personally think that the internet was a choice, some elective creature comfort that I mostly enjoyed even though there was always this shadow of a nag in the back of my mind that said I should back off, take a few steps away from the internet and go live, at least occasionally, as Wordsworth intended: outside with cool summer grass between my toes and the slow drumming of a river rolling in the ambience.
But then I came out of my glazed reverie and realized how miserable that sounds (not the grass and river dance, but just not having internet). I don’t want to go back to pre-internet life anymore than I want to go back to using outhouses or traveling via horse and carriage. I’ve made my peace with the amount I use the internet and, for better or worse, I’m not leaving it.
If at any point in your life you’ve found yourself somewhere on this particular existential spectrum – which if you’re older than 25, I imagine you have – you might take note of Paul Miller. He’s a writer at The Verge and, for the next year, he has declared that he will spend it without the internet. No laptop, no iPad, no Xbox, no smartphone – he’s effectively going off the grid. (Fascinatingly, he is somehow remaining in the employ of The Verge, which makes me deathly curious as to how he talked them into that.)
Here’s Miller explaining his decision:
Miller also started up a reddit IAmA page to answer questions and explain a little bit more of the specifics of his decision. Honestly, given this is the last day he’ll be on the internet, in a way I imagine it must sort of feel like his last day at The Verge, so I guess that’s cool that he got to spend most of his last day browsing reddit. There are worse ways to sign off.
At any rate, good luck to Mr. Miller and may he find what he’s looking for, but not in the U2 Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For way. Watch this space to see if Miller ends up climbing the walls within a week.