IS THERE LIFE WITHOUT COMPUTERS?

You see stuff online — Facebook mostly — about “could you live in this lovely (log cabin) house (in the middle of really nowhere) without WiFi? And everyone says “Oh sure! I could live in that great little house — in the middle of a huge woods by a cold lake where the nearest shopping center is 50 miles on dirt roads — forever without so much as a VOIP phone.

Sure you could. NOT.

I know I couldn’t and wouldn’t even want to try. Because that’s not life or at least not my life.

There was a time when I could imagine a life without computers. I think that was before I owned a computer, before every house everywhere had one or many computers. Before every single thing in the house got “connected” and computerized in some way. Before your toilet got so smart you have to argue with it about the whole “flushing” thing. Before we had things in the house that you could talk to and would more or less would run your house for you, even if you weren’t there personally.

To be clear, I don’t have any of those super smart appliances because while I dearly love WiFi, if the power is out I need to know the toilet will flush anyway and the refrigerator will keep the food cold as long as I don’t open the door. I want to be smarter than my toilet or refrigerator. Call me crazy, but I like to keep at least one leg up on life.

Yeats in Sligo
Yeats in Sligo

But life without any computers? Without a way to blog? Oh, I suppose I could use a typewriter …  but what would I do with it after that? There IS no blog without WiFi. And my wrists would not thank me.

Can I survive without Photoshop and Topaz filters? Without a Kindle? Or a GPS?

That sounds more like death than life.  A computer is not just email. It’s all kinds of communications and these days, it really IS communications. Pretty much all communications is electronic in one way or another. Photography and writing. Paying bills, shopping, and entertainment. Games. Keeping in touch with the world and the people in it, without whom life would be incredibly lonesome.

So if I must have a life without computers, I am probably dead. Unless there are afterlife computers. You know, from Comp-AfterLife.com? Those “special” computers so the undead can keep in touch?

53 thoughts on “IS THERE LIFE WITHOUT COMPUTERS?”

  1. I’m old enough to remember life without computers. Personal computers, that is. And cell phones and WiFi and DVRs and microwave ovens and 4K, flat-screen HDTVs. But since they didn’t exist, I didn’t miss them. Now that they do exist, and I know they exist, I’m not sure I’d want to exist without them. I wouldn’t mind living in a rustic cabin on the side of a mountain (with ocean views). But without a laptop, an iPhone, and WiFi? Fuhgedaboudit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We didn’t miss them because we didn’t have them … but we wished we had them, even before they existed. That is why so much effort went into creating them and why they were such a huge hit from the moment they hit the stores. We ALL wanted things to work faster, better, easier … and we still do. I know everyone gets all misty-eyed about The Old Days … but I don’t think any of us actually want to go back and LIVE in them. I sure don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Fandango, I’m one of those dinosaurs who hated computers — FEARED them and thought they would ruin our TV newsroom and professional life as I knew it. They kidnapped my trusty old manual typewriter (chained to my desk) in the middle of the night and a computer greeted me the next morning.

      I had to turn my life around…with Marilyn’s help.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I always embraced the newest, latest, greatest technologies. I think, though, I no longer need to run out and get the latest hot new device as long as what I already have continues to function. Besides, I’m retired. I can’t afford it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember life without TV (didn’t see one until I was 15; didn’t see a book until I was 8 or 9). What we did for entertainment: (on the nights when we got clear waves) radio-plays and music, making a barbed-wire canoe to float down the muddy creek, imagining things, being elsewhere in my mind, stretching the boundaries of reality without someone telling me or showing me or advertising at me.
    Yes, I could live without all these modern things – as long as there was a public library with free wifi within a close enough distance to visit (by foot) once a week.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hey, I thought I was old. Seems you’re maybe 10 years older. I first saw TV when I was five. I never made a barbed-wire canoe to float on a muddy creek, but I did imagine things, as you did, without interruption by the assaults of advertising and incessant external stimuli that make my ears long for silence. I’m going to have to visit you. Wish I could do it on foot. Who knows, maybe we’ll meet at the library.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It’s mainly because I was born in the country, no services, therefore, no TV, no telephonic devices, and school of the air; it was when we moved to a town and saw other people who owned TV (and stuff), and soon, soon, we did too.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “But life without any computers? Without a way to blog? Oh, I suppose I could use a typewriter … but what would I do with it after that? There IS no blog without WiFi. And my wrists would not thank me.”

    You got me, Marilyn. You turned the light on the only way it could be turned on — with that Marilyn Armstrong humor. It brought me to my senses: I’m a liar or I’m delusional! I prefer the cabin because I spend an hour before dawn by the wood stove fire. Ahhhh…but what do I do there? I write…on the MacBook Air whose battery i’ve re-charged overnight by plugging it into the light socket!

    Years ago i met David McCullough. David still writes on his old typewriter and what he writes is so fine, so good, so important. But I’m no David McCullough. The cabin doesn’t have WiFi but I can still write. Then, when I delude myself into believing that what I’ve written is as worthy of publication as David’s, I drive 20 minutes to the truck stop, log into the Wi-Fi, and poison the rest of the world with my lies, delusions, and hubris. I’m no David McCullough. I’m no Marilyn Armstrong!

    Thanks for the Aha moment!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And when David McCullough is DONE with his manuscript, he gives it to his publisher who turns it into digital text so that it can go out as Kindles and paperbacks and audiobooks.

      There is no turning back.

      We LEAPED into computerization from the get-go. I watched it because that was what I did. Computers FLEW off the shelves. We WANTED that virtual revolution and as a civilization we needed it. We can take vacations away from it … but we can’t go back. Nor do we really want to. We may want more privacy and fewer phones ringing and less beeping and dinging in our world, but we don’t want doctors available via long horseback rides through the night … and we’re not going back to wondering if there’s something wrong with our hearts because there are no computerized tests. I think we often forget — it’s not just mobile phones or even personal computers. It’s EVERYTHING.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The invasion of the computer in my life is minimal (as evidenced by the meager online output on my site). Deliberately so, since I seem to come from prehistoric DNA which ascribes a great value in the printed (paper) word, the personal connection of letters, phones calls (land line still, I have yet to find a need for my existence to be bundled into a hand held device) and personal contact including actual (gasp) conversation. Oddly, I think the impression given in the new computer age that the world is at our fingertips actually shrinks our human experience. Computers are no longer regarded as tools but as a lifestyle, a dangerous evolutionary descent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t use a smart phone. Neither does Garry. He doesn’t because he can’t hear on one. I don’t because I don’t LIKE them. We have a land line, except it is VOIP, so really, it runs on WiFi. We treat it like a landline until the cable goes out and suddenly, it’s this dead plastic thing.

      I have an electronic pacemaker in my chest. I could get rid of it, but then — I’d be dead. Garry could get rid of his hearing aids — but then, he would hear nothing.

      I could use a typewriter, but what would I do with the writing except look at it and maybe give it to Garry to read.

      It’s not that we are tied to our computers, but that computers have become an intricate part of survival in the modern world. Our cars use them. Many, if not most of the devices in our homes — our televisions and even our radios and often our heating system — ALL of them use computerization. This isn’t going to change.

      Am I hooked to a tiny handheld device? No because I don’t like them. When I was working, I liked them a lot better because I needed a phone. Now, I don’t really need a phone. So the “smart phone” lives in my bag and I only charge it up and turn it on when we are traveling and we don’t do that much anymore, either.

      We change as we age.

      I would be dead without computerization. Garry would be blind and deaf. Do I still love books? Of course I do. I’m of the generation that grew up inside the covers of a book … but I get that the world has changed and frankly, I am thrilled to have electronic books to read and not have to tote a giant trunk of books with me everywhere I go.

      And you know? KINDLES HAVE THEIR OWN LIGHT! I love that light. Damn, but I just love that light.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Keeping you alive is a very good thing indeed, ans is keeping Garry well. I wish I had the ability to change more, but then again I’m still in the belief that Jack & Marion’s is going to reopen soon, so I’m probably a hopeless cause.

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            1. Over the years, stupidity has become what I see as the biggest human obstacle to improving our world. Who knew there could be SO many stupid people? Who figured they would be our leaders? Who thought we’d teach stupidity as a subject in school? Life can be so weird.

              Liked by 1 person

                1. You know, I would agree with that but they aren’t necessarily the same people. There are a lot of people who refuse to be held accountable. Some of them may be stupid, but a lot of them aren’t stupid, just morally bankrupt.

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    2. And, computers (and their cousins) have changed how we express ourselves. Acronyms, memes, awkward,incomplete sentences. Grammar went the way of Baby Jane.

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    1. I assume you are then not planning to work? At anything? Live off the land? In which case, God speed. I’m a little old for that. I think I’m up for refrigeration and communication and a computer, but thanks anyway. I already have all the sounds of nature I could possibly want. With wiring. Actually, you would have to live VERY off the land because without access to a highly computerized grocery story that you drive to with your computerized car … it would get really hungry out there. In the woods.

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      1. There is definitely a time in our lives for everything. We are all comfortable where we feel the most safe. 🙂 I grew up in the woods and would happily live off the land again. My mother has gotten too old for it and she need to have an easier life. So I understand both sides to with or without a computerized world. 🙂 Happy Blogging

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  5. Our cabin that we grew up in didn’t have running water inside until I was almost ready to move out…. there is still an outhouse and no toilet inside. there is hot water and a bathtub plus power and a fridge 🙂 It was a great way to grow up.

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    1. I don’t doubt it. They were and are great places to vacation, too. But if you want to be part of the world today, it IS a vacation. Beautiful, no doubt. But then again, today that same place probably would have all the wiring anyway. Even in the middle of central Africa, the lines run.

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    2. It sounds good, too. You know, in Israel, we had an “out house,” though it was really more of a “separate room” which had solar heat, the hot water tank, shower, toilet, etc. It just wasn’t exactly part of the main house.

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  6. 20 years ago I got by just fine without any inkling of what this whole “world wide web” was that everyone was talking about. But I’ve been on the internet so long now that there is no going back to the “dark ages.” It’s the main reason I am so resistant to getting a smartphone…. I don’t want to become one of THOSE people, because I know I too would never be able to go back to finding more creative ways to beat boredom when I’m not at home…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t worry. We have a smart phone and we use it for emergencies and travel. Otherwise? It’s OFF and put away. I don’t need it at home — have a regular phone, or at least a VOIP phone and don’t need two. And I simply don’t like the new portable phones. I find them difficult to use and even harder to hear. I used to LOVE our blackberries. They were GREAT.

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  7. Excellent points about why the computer is ‘necessary’. Still, I’m one of those on FB putting a little smilie emoticon on those cabin posts and saying “Sign me up!” — particularly if a huge wad of money is involved. We all know these things are merely speculation, but I really do think I could survive (for a time) without a computer. I was born pre-computer and we got along fine back then…and I love to read and have a lot of books, my art (painting, sketching, etc) needs some attention. My hand crafts (needlepoint, cross stitch and the like) needs some attention. The DOG needs some attention…and all of these are robbed by this stupid electronic box that drains away hours and years of my life. So for me? I’d give it a go. Especially if they’d PAY me to do it… 🙂

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    1. I’m sure I could survive without computerization — to a point. That point is when they need to test the battery that keeps my heart beating … or just try to figure out what my heart is doing these days. Everything is simple when we are simple. When we don’t have physical issues that require modern technology. When our cars would run without a computer in them. When the stuff we use operated without batteries. When we didn’t need electricity. These days when people imagine “living off grid,” they really don’t mean OFF OFF grid. They mean without wifi, but certainly not without plumbing and electricity and refrigeration, at least not people my age. People my age without that stuff? We wouldn’t survive a week.

      One of the reasons we live longer is that life isn’t impossible for older people. At one time, it was impossible.

      As a 1 month vacation? Maybe. But probably not. I really AM electronic. Not only outside. Inside, too.

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  8. Heck, I’d prefer a car that I could physically roll the windows down so I could probably live just fine out in that cabin. I made the adjustment to computers and smart phones, and I’d probably be able to go back to a simpler time. Imagine the stress you could lose if you weren’t on line hearing everyone’s running thoughts about every topic available? Yes, I’d miss blogging but couldn’t care a wit about Facebook, Twitter, 24 hours news and weather by talking heads more focused on sensationalism. Interesting topic but one we have no control over because it is pedal to the metal for more technology every day. 🙂

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    1. It’s funny because i’m not interested in most social media. i check in, but i don’t stay there. It’s not interesting. I read a lot, but i read on a Kindle because it HAS A LIGHT AND OH GOD I LOVE THAT LIGHT. I know. A small thing. But I spent years trying to get a light bright enough to light the book, but not so bright it would give me a headache … and I’m SO happy to not need more paper on the bookshelves that needs dusting that it will never get.

      And honestly, with a pacemaker in my chest? I could not survive in a computer free world. i would die. Pretty quickly, too. In a non computerized world, i’m dead half a dozen surgeries ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Without constant social media, yes. But not without a computer and access to blogging. A momentary disconnect is good. I did it over the holidays and was able to focus on several projects I wanted to have ready for January. But I still used my computer. It would be a mistake to think that we can go backwards. We can still choose how and when use our modern tools.

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    1. When we travel to visit friends, I don’t use the computer at all usually. But if I was there every day, that would be something else. The computer for me is truly the freedom to connect with the world. Without it, I’m just an elderly handicapped woman with a dying heart.

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