We tend to think of the Internet as something that’s needed for everyday life. It’s now gotten to the point where our online identity is still active even when we’re not physically at a computer or mobile device. It seems like it would be impossible to go without the Internet, but what happens when we’re forced out of the online world? One ex-LulzSec hacker says it’s “serene.”
Jake Davis, otherwise known as Topiary, was one of the LulzSec hackers arrested on July 27, 2011 in connection with attacks on various Web sites. Since then, he’s been out on conditional bail where he has agreed to not use the Internet. He also pled guilty to hacking charges back in June.
It’s been over a year since his arrest and he hasn’t used the Internet once. Davis wrote a piece for The Guardian where he describes his experience without the Internet. It’s a fascinating look at a man who once spent almost every waking moment online being forced to make such a drastic change.
As expected, Davis says the change has its pros and cons. The instant gratification of online life has been replaced by the more calm progression of life that’s defined by physical interaction.
It seems strange that humans have evolved and adapted for thousands of years without this simple connectivity, and now we in modern society struggle to comprehend existence without it. In a word, life is serene. I now find myself reading newspapers as though they weren’t ancient scrolls; entering real shops with real money in order to buy real products, and not wishing to Photoshop a cosmic being of unspeakable horror into every possible social situation. Nothing needs to be captioned or made into an elaborate joke to impress a citizenry whose every emotion is represented by a sequence of keystrokes.
He says that the one thing he does miss is the “instant companionship of online life.” Still, he claims that it’s “oddly endearing” to be disconnected from his past digital life. It has helped him sleep better and he no longer sees “flashing shapes” when he closes his eyes.
In the end, he encourages others who are constantly on the Web to “take a short break.” It’s apparently helped him become a more “fulfilled individual,” and it just might work for others who need a break. Like Davis says, “It can’t hurt to try.”