Unplugged, Seven Days With No Tech

Unplugged, Seven Days With No Tech, by
Matthew McKinnon, Shift Magazine
Here’s the game: avoid digital culture for 168 hours. No computers,
cell phones, television, stereos, etc. Are you up to it? Matthew
McKinnon decides to play. With an ambivalent attitude toward
technology, he realizes how much digital culture is used in our
daily lives without a second thought. Curious to know how life
would be different once he is devoid of all technology (with a few
cheating instances), McKinnon writes, ‘I won’t know how the grass
feels on the other side of the fence until I take my shoes off and
let it slip between my toes.’ What follows is a week-long journal
filled with amusing accounts of his struggles, such as holding the
remote to his stereo without turning it on. Intertwined with his
personal accounts are quotes and examples of anti-industrial
revolutions, such as 19th century Luddites in England and Ted
Kaczynski’s manifesto. He concludes that the experience will change
him and make him more conscious of the pervasive influence digital
culture has on us. Perhaps he will surf the Net less, play Scrabble
instead of watching television, or go outside a bit more. But he
proclaims, ‘I won’t become a better, simpler me.’ McKinnon also
recognizes that to most of the world, ‘digital culture is thought
of — if at all — as a luxury to be enjoyed by people who lack
real problems.’
–Mariam Pourshoushtari
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