On Being A Frontiersman
I have often dreamed of being brave – of leaving the comfort of what I trust and what I know, to explore new frontiers. I have never been so brave though, as to actually leap into a new frontier. People like me may dream of such, but in this era, we are more comfortable than ever, and less likely to explore in ways which require true bravery – people like me are married to social trends. I tend to do my exploring by way of technology, and vicariously through the bravery of others.
One area I have contemplated exploring in these modern times is to explore why I am so compelled to fit into the main stream, yet have such a strong desire to swim against that same current. This is simply the exploration of my beliefs, values, and related choices as I strive to live a unique life within the rapid current of humanity. A more in-depth exploration of the same, might have an effect on my many business, social, and personal relationships. I don’t mind the idea of experimenting on myself, but I don’t wish anyone else to be effected by my lust for contrast.
I know some who have divorced, struggled, and had great regret. I know others who have divorced, felt relief, and grown wings. Sometimes divorce is correct – it’s the right thing to do. Other times, divorce might be an unnecessary step; too far over a ledge which does not need to be crossed. The necessity of my own divorce remains fuzzy, and the contemplation of it remains my favorite reason to drink.
Some divorces though, are simply exquisite. These are divorces which I have truly admired and longed for. I am aware of several divorces which have heavily influenced my day-to-day thinking, as well as my overall world-view.
Frontier Divorces: My Heroes Have Always Been Renegades
These men; Diogenes, Dorian Paskowitz, Christopher McCandless, and Larry Walters have all divorced themselves from something far more complex, and with a much greater gravity than that of a spouse. These innovative men, bravely and uniquely divorced themselves from the mainstream – from normal.
If you are unfamiliar with who these men are, or how they divorced themselves from normal, you can click on the subsequent hyperlinks and read for yourself. I will, however, give you a tease:
Diogenes: Divorced himself from the shelter of dishonesty, from the ideas of others, from following, and from having
Dorian Paskowitz: Divorced himself from the system, and from having
Christopher McCandless: Divorced himself from expectations, and from having
Larry Walters: Divorced himself from the planet, and from having – if only for a short while
A Few Frontiers Still Remain: My Next Ex
I want a divorce – or at least a trail separation…
I remember being 9 or 10 years old, looking around my family’s middle class home and all that went with it. Even then I could not help but wonder why people felt the need for so much – such big houses with so many untouched things, when a simple camper or tent could suffice. Western society’s lust for more has never made sense to me. Still, I grew up, bought houses, and furnished them with all kinds of things because that’s what we do – at an early age, we get married to the concept of more.
Similarly, I have recently begun to wonder why people need all of this technology which surrounds us; electronics, the internet, information media, social networking, etc. Still, I use Facebook, text, connect to NPR each morning, and I take dozens of pictures each month which will never see a darkroom. I have not used a pen and paper to write more than 10 consecutive words in over a decade – I just push a lot of buttons when I wish to say something. And such is the state of my marriage – my marriage to silicon, fast information, and easy entertainment.
Like the men listed above, I want a divorce from normal, or what is rapidly becoming normal. I want to explore life without electronic devices and information; that I might live more happily, exploring this inner-frontier – at least for a while.
From April 20 through May 20, I will not watch television. I will read books rather than listen to them on my i-Pod. I will write exclusively with a pen and paper. I will not blog, Facebook, text or email. I will invoice my clients by hand. I will maintain my phone, but only for the sake and the security of my daughter, my business, and my friendships.
Back Into The Current Of Information, Media, And Entertainment
Dorian Paskowitz has since remarried the mainstream – including a car, TV, and Facebook. Christopher McCandless was killed during his divorce, but wrote that he had a “happy life” during his final days. It is highly speculated he was headed back into the mainstream – at least for a while. Diogenes may have been seduced back into normal, and a good bit of having in his later years, but there are conflicting accounts of this. Larry Walters would commit suicide – the planet he temporarily divorced himself from was not much different on his return.
I have no aspiration that this will be a life-long change for me. If history and patterns are any indication, this divorce of mine might last for a while, but I will ultimately return to silicon and electronic information to fulfill my marital needs, if not my emotional ones. I do this more as a test of my bravery, and to have a first-hand look at the inner frontier of living in a technical world, without depending on technology to amuse and inform myself. Be well. rc
I will not be blogging, emailing, Facebooking, or the like, between April 20th and May 20th. Between now and then I will be an internet whore. After my absence, I might post a column about my experience, and share with you my conclusions and ideas on the future of my marriage to technology. Or perhaps, I will just write a fitness article on the value chicken salads and lunges.
Oh, and there is this from Paul Westerberg. One of my favorite songs ever. Enjoy…