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?

48 thoughts on “IS THERE LIFE WITHOUT COMPUTERS?

  1. angloswiss January 11, 2018 / 12:31 am

    I don’t want a life without a computer. It keeps me in contact with the world. I can pay my bills from a desk, talk to my online friends, and my brain gets some exercise.

    Like

      • Garry Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 1:24 pm

        I’m a convert. Once I hated computers.

        Like

  2. Fandango January 11, 2018 / 1:21 am

    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

    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 12:02 pm

      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

      • Fandango January 11, 2018 / 4:03 pm

        What? You don’t want to make America great again? Tsk tsk!

        Like

        • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 5:03 pm

          Great … like … pre computer. Like die because they can’t use my pacemaker. Yeah. GREAT idea.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Garry Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 1:28 pm

      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

      • Fandango January 11, 2018 / 4:08 pm

        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

        • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 5:02 pm

          I try to buy the best quality stuff I can because it tends to last longer. It has to. I can’t afford it either.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. cagedunn January 11, 2018 / 1:57 am

    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

    • Gordon C. Stewart January 11, 2018 / 7:39 am

      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

      • cagedunn January 11, 2018 / 2:57 pm

        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

    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 12:03 pm

      Yes, we are all willing — to a point. But that point is that there IS availability, somewhere and not too far away. Because no one wants to go back to snow-shoeing through the forest on a cold night to find help for a sick child.

      Liked by 2 people

      • cagedunn January 11, 2018 / 3:00 pm

        Or walking miles across the salt-flats …

        Like

  4. Taswegian1957 January 11, 2018 / 5:48 am

    Same here. I love the way the internet connects us. I would miss blogging. i would miss digital photography. I was happy before computers and the internet came along but I wouldn’t want to give them up now..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 12:10 pm

      And, as I keep saying — without the strides in medicine, I’d be dead by now. Garry would be blind … and so would you be. We depend on computers for a lot more than blogging, though blogging is more fun that the other stuff.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Gordon C. Stewart January 11, 2018 / 7:27 am

    “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

    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 12:09 pm

      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

    • Garry Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 1:32 pm

      But you’re Gordon Stewart…and that’s pretty impressive for many folks.

      Like

      • Gordon C. Stewart January 11, 2018 / 2:14 pm

        You must be talking with people I’ve yet to meet, Garry. But I do know people who would be surprised to hear! -:(

        Liked by 1 person

        • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 2:29 pm

          We all seem to be surprised to discover we are considered special to others. Ah we are so ‘umble! But we are humble, really. Probably that’s how come we’ll never be president.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. chandlerswainreviews January 11, 2018 / 10:03 am

    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

    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 2:04 pm

      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

      • chandlerswainreviews January 11, 2018 / 3:26 pm

        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.

        Like

        • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 5:15 pm

          I dream of a better world, but I don’t think what’s wrong with our world is based on too many computers. I think it’s based on stupid people making idiotic decisions.

          Liked by 1 person

          • chandlerswainreviews January 11, 2018 / 5:35 pm

            I can’t argue with that. That’s a short and sweet commencement address if ever I’ve heard one.

            Like

            • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 5:57 pm

              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

              • chandlerswainreviews January 12, 2018 / 11:54 am

                I’m afraid that being stupid becomes more and more commonplace when the shame of accountability becomes a thing of the past.

                Like

                • Marilyn Armstrong January 12, 2018 / 12:39 pm

                  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.

                  Like

    • Garry Armstrong January 12, 2018 / 12:22 pm

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

      Like

      • Marilyn Armstrong January 12, 2018 / 12:38 pm

        Except — we use grammar. Think of us as leading a small but powerful army of people who love full sentences!

        Like

  7. swo8 January 11, 2018 / 10:35 am

    Well I sure want to be smarter than my fridge or my toilet.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

      • Garry Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 1:33 pm

        The toilet is a formidable part of our life. Gets top billing with me.

        Like

  8. cafequeen January 11, 2018 / 12:24 pm

    I would be so content in the middle of the woods with the sound of nature surrounding me and no stress of the world around me. Sounds perfect! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 12:35 pm

      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.

      Like

  9. cafequeen January 11, 2018 / 12:27 pm

    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.

    Like

    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 12:33 pm

      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.

      Like

  10. evilsquirrel13 January 11, 2018 / 1:07 pm

    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

    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 1:49 pm

      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.

      Like

  11. Embeecee January 11, 2018 / 1:44 pm

    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… 🙂

    Like

    • Marilyn Armstrong January 11, 2018 / 1:54 pm

      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.

      Like

  12. Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread January 12, 2018 / 7:34 am

    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. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. evelyneholingue January 13, 2018 / 1:56 pm

    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.

    Like

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