Offline: The Hurricane

Paul Miller:

Like millions of other people, I lost power during the storm — and for the days following. What I observed was a beautiful, slow version of Manhattan, where idle New Yorkers calmly scavenged for Doritos, wine, and cellphone signal. I spoke to people who, it seemed for the first time in ages, weren't concerned with their email. They wanted people on "the outside" to know they were safe, and they wanted something of ill nutrition to eat that night. That was about it.

This might not sound like whole buffalo utilization to you, but for me there's something about paying attention to the entire self, as it exists in reality, instead of merely the self that's required by others.

Amidst the awful stories emerging from New York over this past week, I strangely found myself wondering what the experience must've been like for one of the only people in the city not clamoring for wireless signals.

Disconnected and with little incentive to prey upon power outlets and spotty cellular connections, Paul Miller was able to appreciate and enjoy an environment much like his own. Although the circumstances were not exactly positive, I suspect this week will prove to be one of the most informative of Paul's offline experience.

Speaking to the fact that the Internet will not disappear from the world, it's fascinating to watch as he comes to comprehend the gravity of his disconnection and the meaningful impact this has upon his very consciousness.

Although many have dismissed Paul's "offline" life as a gimmick, I tend to think it's one of the most fascinating and unquestionably important experiments going on today. Perhaps that's a shallow assessment, but given the increasing ubiquity and saturation of technology, I think the assessment of psychological boundaries is of the utmost long-term significance for us as a society.