Can’t Get Away From It All? The Problem Isn’t Technology — It’s You

Mat Honan, writing for Wired:

The practice of taking an intentional break from technology and civilization is probably as old as technology and civilization. But it seems increasingly urgent now, in an era when the Internet—and thus most of the planet—is as close as an iPhone. We go to seek waldeinsamkeit, as the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson described it—the feeling of being alone in the woods.

This feeling is prominent in our written history. In Heart of Darkness, the protagonist, Charles Marlow, is driven by his desire to visit the few remaining blank spaces on the map. That is, more or less, how many of us plan our vacations today. Of course, the rivers and valleys and borders were long ago mapped; our blank spaces are the few remaining holes in the global communications network. We go where it’s impossible to connect, no matter what. But quite soon those gaps will all be filled. Before much longer, the entire planet will be smothered in signal, and we won’t be able to find places that are off the grid.

Thanks to the support of readers like you, Per Square Mile remains independent and ad-free.

If you enjoy what you read, please consider supporting the site with a donation.

opening times