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So I've kinda dropped out of modern life, and I'm happier for it...

Discussion in 'Serious' started by KayinBlack, 9 Oct 2014.

  1. KayinBlack

    KayinBlack Currently Rebuilding

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    I've been absent a lot of late. After my son died, I've gotten pretty serious about preserving tribal knowledge and the "old ways" as half of me is Seminole. I can spend days with an axe or a bow in the woods. I trap, hunt and fish. I'm teaching myself leatherwork. We heat our house with wood primarily, and I gather as much of it as possible. That includes felling trees with just an axe.

    But it doesn't stop there. I have an i7 setup, 32gb of RAM, 4x290X, AX1500i setup that I haven't even attempted to liquid cool with all the components bought. I haven't even turned it on in three weeks. I can spend three or four days without picking up my tablet. I carry no phone or GPS into the woods-not even a compass, not that I need it at home. I have been disconnecting myself in many ways, and I simply feel more alive.

    I wonder why we surround ourselves with technology meant to let us "communicate" faster, but we give up face to face communication. I use this stuff still-I can't operate well in the dead of winter outdoors, and I still spend my many sick days with Monster Hunter Tri Ultimate. I'm not out to completely reject technology, but by doing so many things the old way, I'm learning so much about myself and just how intimately tied to the natural world we really are.

    We're not ready for this, I don't think. It's like giving a monkey troupe laser pistols. There ensues a lot of **** flinging and burning flesh. We have all this stuff and instead of use it to improve the lives of the rest of the world we use it to look at pictures of asses and take pictures of our own asses. We're still a tribal organism living in a slapdash substitute for a civilization, pretending that our species is grown up enough to do so. This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the unprecedented technological growth of our species in the last hundred years. We were a small tribal group hunter/gatherer or agrarian species for millennia, and now we inhabit synthetic anthills without any idea how to deal with each other. I'm making sweeping generalizations based on readily observable trends. I know that's not always accurate, but given that we've only been like this for about a hundred and fifty years or so, and the most rapid acceleration in the last fifty or so I think we need to reexamine our lives, collectively.

    This is not me saying burn your PC. This is me saying chop your own wood, collect mushrooms, build a fire without a lighter or matches. Do something to remind yourself that we come from the earth, and it still calls to us. I feel more alive than I ever have. I sleep better, I eat better, I have more self-confidence. Sure, I do spend a few days chasing deer, but I know how that meat got to my table. I have food I killed or gathered or picked with my own hands. And it tastes better than anything else. If you have the opportunity, try living a little wilder. It's cheaper than therapy.

    This is in serious because this to me is a serious topic. I'm to the point of making some of my own clothes, my knives, my axes, my bows, much of what I need. And I hope to become less dependent on society yet. I don't think we're ready to have the world at our fingertips. I'd like to know what you think, if you don't mind.
     
  2. Yadda

    Yadda Well-Known Member

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    Yup, there's nothing wrong with spending time away from modern distractions. I too find that "unplugging" myself from the noise and doing something wholesome from time to time is incredibly good for the mind and the soul. :thumb:
     
  3. Xir

    Xir Well-Known Member

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    On the one hand I completely agree...

    Now find yourself in your early twenties in the middle of London and try doing ANY of that, I think you'll find it's rather hard.

    --edit--

    No I’ve made this too easy on myself, a quick silly remark isn’t what you deserve.
    Let me say it otherwise.

    I agree, nearly completely, with what you’re saying.

    On the other hand this is something that is difficult to obtain because it needs certain...conditions.

    First of all it’s dependent on location. Most of what you say isn’t legal around here…maybe it should be, but it isn’t. In densly populated, or highly cultivated area’s we can’t simply all do this. There’s not enough wildlife and free space around.
    Second it’s a matter of status. To go off-grid for a few days means you’ve got no one depending on you, be it work, little kids, things like that.
    Which brings us to the third point, affluence. To have a house to return to, most of us have to work, which we cannot afford if we disappear regularly. Maybe you’re older, maybe you’re retired, maybe you’re affluent enough to live of the fat.
    Maybe you’re just very modest and live the cheap-simple life. (no, not with that rig of a computer) :D

    In our western-european civilization, there’s two ways of doing this.
    One is becoming a “weekend-warrior”, I’ve been a scout for a long time and used to do this, but I don’t think this is what you mean. It doesn’t really count if you know fridaynight you’re returning on Sundayevening so you can go back to work on Monday, right?
    Second is doing this completely, burn your bridges, move to….dunno North Canada, Alaska, Siberia or the Outback…and LIVE this way, build your own hut etc.

    Maybe I’m wrong, you can forge a knife on a flat balcony in the middle of town...
     
    Last edited: 10 Oct 2014
  4. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

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    Maybe not the hunting and trapping, but you could grow your fruit and veg, either in your own garden or on an allotment. It's possible to do, even in London!

    I, for one, love spending time in my garden. Quite often, I'll only be pottering, looking at the plants or a bit of weeding, but I find it's great for switching my mind off and just coasting.

    And you're right, Kayin: food you've produced yourself always tastes better :)
     
  5. Nexxo

    Nexxo Queue Jumper

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    First, nice to hear you're still here, and doing well Kayin! :)

    Second: I can totally relate. We live in the 'burbs but are considering moving more rurally (the trick is finding an affordable place within commuting distance to Birmingham --the psychology jobs still inevitably are in the big, poorer cities) so we have space for chickens, beehives and possibly a goat as well as a vegetable patch (my two hives are currently moving to a nearby allotment as a neighbour of a neighbour, after three years has suddenly decided to have a meltdown about their presence in our back garden. The allotment is delighted to have them on site; bees boost crops).

    I keep bees. We get our own honey, and hopefully next year, mead. We forage: we know all the best bits in our park for blackberries and elderberries, where we get pounds of the stuff, and there are a lot of small abandoned Victorian orchards tucked away in Birmingham, long forgotten except for by a few people, where you can still get apples and plums. We regularly bake our own bread. We certainly cook from scratch. We are getting into making our own gnocchi and pasta. My wife just bought a sowing machine so we patch our linen.

    We restore old furniture. We have a solid oak pub table via eBay (£60,--), dating from 1892 which has an original Joseph Fitter expander crank mechanism. I sanded off the stained dark varnish and then polished it with furniture polish made from our own beeswax. We recently got a marble-topped mahogany table mirror. Our best buy is a bronze and marble small cabinet which I eBayed for £1,-- and which sits in our bathroom.

    I'm also learning metalwork (my wife is learning silversmithing --just sold some jewellery), and we want to learn woodwork and upholstery. Pottery seems interesting too. I want to make my own telescope.

    Our retirement plan involves moving to the Mediterranean, where food, drink, weather and frankly, the environment are nicer, cost of living cheaper and houses cost less than half what they cost here; we plan to restore our own furniture, we plan on a garden with chickens, orchard, vegetable patch, beehives etc.; a wood- and metal workshop with kiln, and space to try our hand at cheese making. And I'm getting a still for making my own moonshine. I'm calculating how early I can retire. We are prepared to sacrifice pension income to get out sooner. This is no hardship, as our lifestyle is quite economical. We don't have a lot of expensive toys; we don't go out on expensive nights or shopping sprees.

    Work is very busy, but our list of things to learn and do in retirement grows longer every day, and we try and so as much of it as we can now.

    Oh yeah, somewhere in there I mod. Now you know why Ada is taking so long. :p
     
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  6. Pookie

    Pookie So this is permanence, love's shattered pride.

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    By trade I'm a Master Thatcher. I started at 14 and gave it up when I was 27. No computers, no mobiles, infact nothing techy wise involved at all! Always working in the middle of no where and working in all weather conditions.

    Now I work in an office and live a more modern life style in a town. I have no desire to ever go back :D
     
  7. Xir

    Xir Well-Known Member

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    Curiosity, where would one get a still?

    I mean, I just happen to have a pretty much wild orchard over here...and some unused plum trees.
    Not that I'd ever....nooo (it's illegal over here) :D
     
  8. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    While I'm all for getting away from the rat race i think Pookie has hit the nail on the head, it would be nice to know if you still feel the same about getting back to nature when the bad weather hits.

    I have some horrible memories of having to work in the pouring rain and near freezing conditions, it ain't nice when your hands get so cold you struggle with fine motor control. Or the opposite end of the spectrum when you have spent the whole day in 90°F temperatures, get heat stroke and have to do it all again the next day.
     
    Last edited: 10 Oct 2014
  9. mrlongbeard

    mrlongbeard Well-Known Member

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  10. Maki role

    Maki role Dale you're on a roll... Staff

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    I think it's completely a matter of balance. I'm a city guy, been living here all my meaningful life, but that being said, I was always exposed to the other side that you're referring to.

    When I was 4-5 my Dad started taking me and my younger brother out fishing. He had a smallish boat back then and we used to go out for sea bass, bream, mackerel, lobsters etc. I'm not a keen fisherman any longer I must admit, but I can certainly see the attraction. Eventually my dad up scaled to a larger catamaran for stability, but has since found that going back to basics has been the most fun. We picked up a couple of fishing kayaks and go off the Dorset Coast, it's brilliant. Just you, your little kayak and a line or two, such a pure fishing experience.

    We also used to go mushroom picking in the New Forest (if I folder where in there... Well I'd have to kill you). It's now become my favourite Autumn activity. There's just something so refreshing about waking up at 6:30 on a Saturday, then taking a 1 1/2 hour drive to the forest and walking for the next 6 hours looking for fungi. I've been doing this for 17 years now, it's become part of me, and it's something I'd want to share with my future children. The satisfaction of sitting down with a basket of foraged ceps or pied de mouton is wonderful.

    Closer to home, we have a family allotment. We grow buckets of tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, beans, strawberries, blueberries, tayberries, damsons etc. This is in busy London too. It's completely possible for loads of people to put out a few baskets/window boxes and grow a few things, it's remarkably therapeutic and rewarding.

    Personally, I don't think people can really say they don't have time to do these things. When I was very young, my dad would work a 7-11 weekday, not much room for family activities there, but he made things happen in the weekends and bank holidays. It's all about what you value. If you have a day off, or an afternoon and you don't want to spend it digging earth, that's not because you don't have time, it's that you don't value the activity.
     
  11. Yadda

    Yadda Well-Known Member

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    No Go-Pro, no blog, no blah-blah-blah. Just dirty hands and muddy boots. :)
     
  12. Guinevere

    Guinevere Mega Mom

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    My soul is with you 110%... that's a whole 10% more than what is actually possible!

    Trouble is, my (our) life hasn't allowed us to drop out even slightly, let alone completely.

    Ten years ago we were looking at shells of cottages on the Isle of Skye and I was seriously thinking that a move to the 'Wilderness' could be on the cards. We'd trek go and visit park ranger friends in the US and go trekking for days at a time into the High Sierras to relax.

    We were desk bound during the week but up in the mountains every weekend, wild-camping etc. It didn't matter that we lived in an apartment with no garden... we were never home! Plus we used to grow veg in a spare bedroom (yes, true).

    If had a year where 25+% of nights weren't spent under the stars I'd consider it a bad year.

    But then kids with medical needs came along, and combine that with us earning our keep from software architecture and space science respectively means we're tied to a certain locale and routine.

    We knew kid would change our dynamic (That's why we had them!) but a daughter who gets puffed when walking a few hundred meters and needs to be wired into a machine ever night does seriously limit ones connection with nature.

    But it's all relative. This time next year, we'll have moved and have a closer connection with the outdoors than we get at the moment. For now it's the occasional day in the woods, and as many trail runs as I can fit in.

    So next year...

    Will I get to use my fire steel a bit more often? Feel the rustle of leaves under my bed? Sit and watch the sun rise over a mountain loch? Kayak out to remote islands to camp? Climb above 10,000 feet more than once a decade?

    I hope so.
     
  13. KayinBlack

    KayinBlack Currently Rebuilding

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    For a reply to how I could drop out, I'm permanently disabled with a severe genetic disorder, and I live on five acres up against a national forest. Some of it has been a way to save money with our meager income (the PC was bought with four years' back pay on disability) and some is the call of the wild that I guess comes from my genetics.

    I'm not going to be able to do all this forever. I'm losing my ability to walk again, after fighting so hard to get it back after my stroke. The leg just has too much damage, though I'm going to try for an HKAFO before I give up.

    Nexxo and I share much in common-the drive to know, to do, to be as independent as possible and wives that enable us. I would encourage those that feel they can't to try even a window box, or taking a weekend survival course. Just the knowledge that you can do something is empowering. It's how I feel better about myself as my mobility becomes more and more compromised. In a SHTF situation, I'm good.

    I felt I had to reinvent myself after I no longer had a son to care for. You don't have to have a tragedy to learn to be more self-reliant. For me I had to fill the hours I spent tending my son and playing with him. Nothing will ever compare to being a father, but this way I can still feel like a provider for my wife. It's my way to still feel like a man as my body rebels and my abilities fade.
     
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  14. Hamfunk

    Hamfunk I AM KROGAN!

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    I agree with the OP, getting "away from it all" is definitely beneficial to a balanced life.

    I also agree that the explosion of technology, the internet and media make it increasingly harder to switch off from these things.

    Happy to know i'm not alone in thinking these things! (Thanks for posting this Kayin)
     
  15. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Whitelist Bit-Tech in your adblock!

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    I agree entirely, particularly with the observation that technology has a distancing and isolating effect. Up to a point, technology made the world smaller and people more connected (transport and telephones, especially) but mobile computing, portable music, social media sites, the explosion of absorbing and distracting web 2.0 content and the individualist ideals of the current moment all culminate (in my experience so far) in everyone being more alone, more self-involved yet unthinking, than ever. We're perpetually distracted and never reflecting, and incapable of giving things our full attention.

    I feel this particularly strongly about the combination of smart phones and social networking. I've given up watching films with people because they check their phones routinely all the way through. I quit Facebook for a long while because it was ruining my quality of life - rather than socializing or contacting people 1 on 1, I'd post an update or browse friends' activity, and feel socially engaged even though I was really choosing to be alone. And - and this goes more generally for phones and internet communication - I never enjoyed alone time, because I had a perpetual sensation of choosing to ignore an ever-present social mass, rather than of being genuinely alone.

    The other thing I feel strongly about is transport. It's now normal for every member of a household to have a car each, and often it's for no better reason than "I can, and why should *I* choose go have less personal freedom?" So everyone leaves home alone and sits in traffic alone (checking Facebook on their phones if they can get away with it) and works alone (effectively) and drives home alone. They sit at dinner with their phones out and check their phones before they go to bed, and there's been less attention paid to each other than at any other time in recent history, I'd wager.

    John Gray argued that technology is an event which befalls us, not a tool which we intelligently shape. These things all seem like good ideas, obvious choices (and indeed, I have a motorbike and I'm writing this on a smartphone) but realistically we have almost no choice in the matter at all, which only becomes obvious when you try to tell someone to do what Kayin has done - give it up, day-to-day, and try to get by without it. We don't choose to have all this technology in our lives so much as we give in to laziness and temptation and become dependent on it.

    I've been making baby steps in this direction. I stopped gaming in favour of reading novels and writing poetry out of concern for my ever-shrinking attention span and intellect, stopped using the internet so much and started cycling everywhere instead of using the motorbike or getting lifts, to give myself more time to reflect and slow down. But I routinely fall back on cars, and Facebook, and gaming when it's convenient, even though I feel worse for it afterwards, and I still consider myself invalided by modern conveniences, because I could never go full Walden like you have, Kayin. Technology, in many areas, has become an addiction I have to work to resist, something that feels better in the short term but is worse for me overall.
     
    Last edited: 16 Oct 2014
  16. Solidus

    Solidus Superhuman

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    I'm sorry to hear about your son. I cant imagine what thats like. I'm actually going to be a dad soon for the first time (January) and even though my child isn't here I almost feel a sense of attachment and responsibility for it already. Keep your head up mate,
     
  17. Tomhyde1986

    Tomhyde1986 New Member

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    I've started trying to do something quite similar but to a less extreme degree. I've come to the conclusion that the amount of technology and my online habits are having a pretty severe impact on my social life and all round social skills as well as a significant negative impact on my attention span.

    I've closed my Facebook account and I'm trying very hard to ignore and avoid many of the online communities I became involved with. The majority of the gaming related communities I was involved with have devolved into little more than a cesspit of whining, narcissism and elitism with no interest in mature or intelligent conversation. Bit-Tech is about the only exception. You guys are awesome.

    I'm trying hard to avoid things like Reddit and other message boards. I found myself in a horrible habit of reading peoples sob stories and other negativity just to make me feel better about my own insecurities. I never thought of myself as insecure until a month or so ago and generally I still don't but when I realised what I had become I felt awful. Something has to change.

    Gaming used to be a huge part of my life but over the last year I've been enjoying it less and less. I kept on doing it on hind sight simply because it was familiar even though I wasn't having much fun which is pretty crazy by anyone’s standards.

    I've uninstalled all my games, removed steam and battle.net from my machine. It's now probably the most over powered word processing unit anywhere in the world.

    Changing all these behaviours has highlighted just how small my social circle is and how limited my hobbies are in scope. I really need to find something new I can get passionate about and meet some new, interesting and likeminded people. So far I haven’t got a clue what that’s going to involve or be but I’m working on it.

    I’m trying to fill my time these days with more writing, watching more movies and catching up on quality TV shows I’ve missed over the years. I find writing to be particularly therapeutic and helps me get my thoughts and feelings in some sort of order. I might start making it a regular thing.

    Maybe I’m weak willed and a fool but I guess in summary I’ve been genuinely staggered, a little upset and quite concerned at how isolating and damaging my old dependence on technology and the internet have been to my overall wellbeing. The worst part is I never noticed it happening.
     
  18. Xir

    Xir Well-Known Member

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    ...I'm not sure how watching more movies and catching up on TV series is going to help you get more of a social life than gaming. Those activities sound more like substitutes

    Writing to clear the head is probably a good idea though.
     
  19. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Whitelist Bit-Tech in your adblock!

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    Right there with you, bro.

    I started doing swimming and archery. I started reading again, too - one of the first things I'd abandoned as my attention span dwindled. I find it very steadying, it makes you slow down and think more.

    My very small circle of friends and I are struggling to come up with things to do, actually - all conventional wisdom suggests is the pub, but that's expensive, unhealthy and boring and we're going off it. We have a film night once a week, though. You could try making your films and TV shows a social thing.

    Anyway, slight tangent and not really in line with the 'getting away from technology' theme. I find walking tremendously beneficial, I go on long walks about town and in the countryside at night. I don't think it does anybody much good to be cooped up inside for too long.
     
  20. Xir

    Xir Well-Known Member

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    Ah, yes, no quicker way to get to know the neighbourhood than some bouts of exhibitionism :D

    *I'llgetmycoat* **

    **ooh, didn't mean it that way! :naughty:
     

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