Today Mayu and I drew a graph.
Its a timeline for us and the internet. How it gradually entered our lives as children, through to being a constant to slowly loosing connection as we cycled further and further into rural Africa. Time was along the x axis, and the possibilty of having access to the internet was along the y axis. It was a simple curve that mirrored itself. Going from no connection what so ever. Gradually becoming connected. Then having the possibility of being connected at any moment, and then gradually becoming disconnected. To having no access to the internet.
Becoming disconnect in this way was a different experience to simply ‘disconnecting’ for example turning off your phone for the weekend. Making a conscious decision not to have internet for a brief period of time. Instead this was a gradual process for us.
An analogy would be like asking someone that is obesely over weight to experience the feeling of being healthy. Sure they can imagine it, or remember years ago how it felt. But to truly experience that in the present. They will have to go through the long process of loosing weight and gaining back their health.
For us it was a regression, with a memory of how the progression had effected the way we viewed our surroundings with easy access to the internet.
I started to experience a world free of online influence, focusing more on what was really in front of us. Meeting people instead of meeting ‘Africans’. Riding on a road instead of riding on a road in ‘Africa’. I won’t give any examples of what I saw or how I felt because that is not the experience I am trying to share.
What I was questioning was the basis of my state of mind. How does external information effect the way I experience life.
There’s always two sides to a story, sometimes more. So I know the internet, this wealth of information has positive and negative effects on my brain. I can’t tell you what they are, all I can say is I felt I was experiencing life differently. I could say more clearly with the sensitivity of a child to sense the mood, but at the same time I could say I was in the dark. With less background information on where I was and who I was dealing with. Everything was new and all the information I had about what was going on, was right in front on my eyes. The internet is allowing us to ‘know’ something before we really know it.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying you are what you eat and maybe you’ve heard the saying you think what you read.
I believe almost anything can have an influence on us, the world around us shapes who we are in many ways. However I feel like we are relying more and more on media and second hand experiences to shape our views on what is really in front of us.
Advancements in technology are often just another way to express our experience to another person. To influence them, and make them understand how we feel, the truths and realities of our world. Since the birth of language I can use that technology to influence you face to face in an attempt to tell you how I feel.
Since the invention of music, I can drum a beat in a calm or manic way to influence how you feel.
Since the invention of the alphabet, the book, the printing press. I can write something to express my feelings and findings, on the truths I have found out about this world. With a book I can also distribute these findings to the masses. Influencing a large amount of people at the same time.
Since the invention of the camera and film camera, I can show you what was in front of my own eyes, and can even manipulate these images to show things that aren’t even possible to experience in the world we know.
With each attempt I am influencing you in some way, and it can’t be argued that those who shout the loudest will be heard by more. Popular media is no more a truth that what a mountain recluse sees from his cave door. But one is influencing more of us than the other.
We write, talk and communicate to share our experience. I wanted to write this piece to share my experience and feelings about what I’ve felt over the course of this trip. Yet an experience cannot be shared. An experience can only be experienced, and so far humans have created nothing else that can come close to this.