The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection


1 Like

I love the glossary. Very interesting ideas. Thinking about ‘going Walden’ for a bit this weekend.

1 Like

Needs one more…
Techapriapism: pain resulting from uninterrupted internet binges that last more than 4 hrs


I hearted this, because. Concerned, however, that some sort of troll will call you out for sullying the good name of lay Catholic prayer leaders in the Mariana Islands, and so propose an alternative: TCP/IPriapism.


I like the idea of “Straddle Gen” (I’m 34) - I basically hate the internet, but I totally get why a 24-year-old would find me utterly tedious for saying so. And evidently, I use the internet.

Also I like the notion of “pre-internet brain” - I left social media a few years ago (crept back a bit since) and had a really visceral sensation, within a couple of days, of my consciousness reverting to its ‘original’ shape. Like, my mind shape moved from being like a wooden plank to being like a tree branch. It was really like a physical sensation, like my peripheral vision had improved or something.

Anyway that’s just my own experience, good luck to everyone getting the balance right.

1 Like

Still feels a lot like crap, honestly. I’m in the in-betweener category. When I started using the internet, I was about fifteen and “portals” were the “next big thing.” Altavista ruled search and there was a chance Compuserve would make it big.

As a person with general anxiety disorder and social anxiety, having the internet is my favorite out. I don’t use it constantly but if I’m in a crowd of strangers you can bet I have some device out to keep people strangers from talking to me.

I don’t need another screed (however well disguised) on how devices are robbing us of that “authentic human” experience. Devices let me escape from that flight-or-fight mode that otherwise would be the defining factor of my life.

As an aside, I really doubt that the younger generation really needs this “inbetweener” experience in order to separate themselves from the constant feed of stimulus either. I’ll see if I get any response next time I’m around them though (thanks, Tumblr … not sarcasm).


When I think about this subject I look back to long car rides and being bored out of my mind at my grandpa’s house. Sure I had a few things that could be interesting to me for a bit. Books, a Gameboy with limited battery life, and about 4 broadcast TV channels that would come in. I think about how much better that would’ve been if I could have had internet access instead.


You know, you can always switch your phone off, or put it in plane mode.


While I’m not not wringing my hands over this matter, I think you miss the point. We old farts and in-betweeners can and will do that, to get back to a simulation of a state of being we once knew (and, for the oldest of us), was absolute normalcy.

This will be an alien concept for the generation which grows up surrounded by smartphones, tablets and total connectivity.

To be un-connected will be more or less unthinkable, unless they try it for themselves. Like when someone of our generation wants to experience living without electricity and running water. Yes, it can be done, but most people don’t bother and don’t see the point. I’m not even sure that there is a point, like being un-connected.


I’m not sure this is true. I think TV would be a more apt comparison, and a lot of people fritter away their lives watching too much TV, but a lot of people are able to moderate that activity perfectly well, too.

1 Like

Are you suggesting that youngsters gain nothing from letting their minds wander? Certainly, now as an adult, my most productive time is being alone with my thoughts.

I always hate to see this tech handwringing on BoingBoing of all places. Before the Internet, one could just as easily, and many do, sit down and binge on QVC and tube time. Raise your hand if you know someone who has a TV in every room and has one going in the room at all times. It’s not the technology, stupid, it’s people. We like to fill the vaccuum. We can raise our kids to turn it all off sometimes and be without, just as our moms would holler “Go outside and play,” or “put that book down.” We can use a deck of cards just as easily to distract ourselves. Is the 'Net very easy, yes, but there is a reason people post up videos of cats every day and people watch them, and it’s not because cats are so darn fascinating.


I’m suggesting that there’s only so long my mind can wander before it just gets into infinite loops.

To me, a phone and headphones are even useful in helping me be alone with my thoughts. There are times where I’m incredibly bad at tuning out noise. Especially conversations. Headphones and some instrumental music can help me drown that out and concentrate on what I want.



This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.