I can’t tell you where I’ve been. I can’t tell you how I got there. I can’t tell you how I got back. I can’t tell you when I actually went. I can’t tell you when I actually got back.
All I can say is that I’ve just been privileged to have joined in with something that’s somewhere that has no internet. It has no telephony. In fact, there’s a complete disconnection with the outside world. There’s no contact with the outside world. There’s no contact with normality. There’s nothing incoming. There’s nothing outgoing.
Effectively, I suppose it’s a bit like being a ‘Big Brother’ contestant. Just, a lot more isolated, and probably far more dangerous in so many ways. With ‘Big Brother’ you know that reality is only a step away physically. You also know it’s not ‘real’. You are playing a game and aren’t really cut off from the world. And there are cameras. We had no cameras, no microphones, and no technology of any kind.
Here I was, living completely away from my usual world. No news about how whoever was doing what to whom, no gossip, no reality.
Not even a laptop or electronic device to tap away on ‘offline’. Not even a notebook and pen. Nothing.
So then, how did I feel?
Ok, yes, I was somewhat distracted by where I was and the reason I was there and what I was there to do, but I certainly felt extreme withdrawal.
In my normality, my main ‘device’ is my mobile phone. It isn’t so much a phone as a text and picture biased monitor of the world. That’s ‘the’ world, when it comes to news and gossip and public opinion, and ‘my’ world, when it comes to family, friends, work, and all the usual shite. If somebody near me starts talking about something or someone I’ve never heard of or can’t remember, I quickly Google it and get up to speed. It is, strange to say, an extension of ‘me’. I am not the only person like this. We are all depending more and more on our ‘internetworking’ in order to just expand our minds and abilities to co-exist. Or to just exist. And, I’m fine with this.
I wasn’t fine without it. I definitely felt what I can only express as a withdrawal and anxiety. Yes, there was deep anxiety about being cut off from my very loved ones, but the recurring nervous twitch was about being cut off from what must be my ‘extended brain’.
I have read about how anxious addicts get when they are not on Facebook, and how the world all but ended for those living through Blackberry Messaging (BBM) when RIM had issues with its servers some months ago and halted the world of BBM from being able to inter-communicate. Some actually became suicidal.
I’m guessing the anxiety I felt was akin to that felt with the sudden loss of a limb, not to mention the practicality of having to adapt to a new way of doing things. A serious part of me was missing. I was not a whole man. And I’m not sure if this disconnection helped show me that modern life with all our extended personal technology is a good or a bad thing. I want to believe it is a wonderful thing. I fear it may be a terrible thing.