Saturday, October 15, 2011

Electricity Fast: Days 4 and 5

To read about what the Electricity Fast is and why I am doing it, please read my introductory entry.

I was unable to post day 4 of the electricity fast last week, so I decided to combine it with Day 5 of this week. So what to say? The past two weeks were pretty intense with travel for me--I went to Baltimore, Columbia, Silver Spring, and Frederick (three times)--all in Maryland--and Chambersburg, Philadelphia, Hanover, Hershey, and tomorrow am going to Millersville--all in Pennsylvania. In the midst of all the travel which somehow seemed to inexplicably occur within the past two weeks, I tried to keep the lights off for the twenty-four hours as I vowed to do. It's easier for me to keep the lights off now. I think both days four and five I only turned the lights on accidentally once. The downside was of course, due to all the travel that seemed happened to hit me all at once I unfortunately had to use my car on both days (though I carpooled to Philadelphia, at least!). Ah, the reliance we all have on fossil fuels!

But what I want to reflect on today isn't my ability or inability to hold to the fast (though I'm happy to say I'm getting better each week), but rather the unexpected benefits that not having electricity for a day allows for. For one, it forces me off of the computer, the radio, mp3 player, television, all of that. One of the great things about technology is it allows for constant stimulation--not in a bad way, either. But think about it--real time updates on news and current events. The ability to multi-task--I can listen to a news story while reading another news story and commenting about it on Facebook and Twitter... at the same time! All of this, I feel, has tremendous benefit. It allows for efficiency, it allows for continual expansion of our minds, a continual synergistic education. But, all of that said, it keeps us--or at very least me--from ever being able to be still. To just remain or linger on a topic. When was the last time I just sat and did nothing? Or read a book without checking my four e-mail accounts between chapters?

In other words, not using electricity for a day forces me to linger. Instead of putting down a book and instantly picking up my laptop, I'm forced to think about the book. I'm forced to linger on the book, to dwell on it. I'm forced to live in the moment--not the real time continuously streaming moment, for all of that distracts from the presence in the moment lived. And that, if anything, is something we can--and perhaps should--learn to do more. To just turn everything off and force ourselves to wrestle with the infinite as it actually exists, not through soundbites or glowing screens.

One more day left--I think I'll probably have it on Friday (21 October), but that could still change. The last fast day... well, it's been an interesting journey. Let's see where this last week takes us...


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