Wednesday, October 14, 2009

When is without actually with? Is less more, or less?

After yesterday's post about In Praise of Slowness, I've been thinking about the concept of renunciation.

When is deprivation a gesture of shrinking, yielding, renouncing, and when is it actually a path to inflation, growth, expansion? By the same token, doesn't gaining, growing, or adding often result in (expected or unforeseen) constraints and limitations?

But these questions could help me focus my goals in this endeavor. Is a year without internet the best way to conceive of it? Certainly I'll give up many things -- convenience, access, contact, rituals and habits, common ground with my society, perhaps some money. But I think I should be thinking about what could fill those voids. Rather than The year without internet, this could be The year with everything else. Origami. Letter writing. Seeing my grandmother more frequently. Volunteering at the few remaining women's shelters in the state of California. Sampling fine sherries. Playing more piano. Learning a new language. Pretending to learn a language while merely traveling to a new country to buy souvenirs at unforgettable flea markets. And perhaps writing more frequent letters to my grandmother on origami paper.

What I'm getting at is that maybe giving up something for a year isn't that bad. It can be a pathway to plenitude, it can help me become more agile, flexible and open minded, it can cut out a lot of stress (since being connected around the clock, as exhilarating as it is, is also draining). It might feel liberating.

[image of Francis of Assisi, patron of animals and big league giver upper, via wandering wonder]

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