|15 Jun 2004 @ 15:39, by ming|
Via Future Hi, Phil Dhingra, of the Philosophistry blog, shares his ideas on the potential of radical independence.
What are the pros and cons of living off-grid? By living off-grid, I don't just mean living off the electrical grid. I mean off-grid in the sense of having opinions completely non-mainstream, believing in unpopular religious perspectives, subscribing to alternative arts, speaking a different language, living away from large cities, taking non-traditional jobs, and dropping out of school.
It's hard to identify the pros and cons, but I want to explore the various ways in which we can be off-grid.
One of the most novel ways is being agenetic. Ultimately our genes created this machine with some sort of "design" in mind, particularly to be the vehicle for duplicating DNA into our progeny. However, what if you circumvented that design? You could choose not to marry or have kids. That would be the simplest defiance. You could go even further, for example, by not catering to your self-interest, or not getting jealous, or not subconsciously manipulating others through emotional back-n'-forth. Transcending genetics is in a large part transcending emotion.
Utimately you cannot transcend all emotional causes. Some emotion is indeed drawing you to seek transcendence. However, your emotional desire for transcendence was probably meant as a method of obtaining new knowledge, not as a way to avoid the ultimate genetic design.
You could have chosen as a child not to learn the language of your parents. You could try to seek a truly independent, natural, and pure form of communication.
Using the off-grid measure is a new way of looking at ourselves. Rather than calling this person an "independent" person or a "dependent" person, we should analyze to what degrees and in what areas is this person consciously or unconsciously living off-grid. What aspects of being off-grid are morally correct? How is morality merely a matter of just swimming mainstream?
For example, I am off-grid religiously simply because the concepts violate what I believe. However, I'm strongly on-grid when it comes to education and the career-ist life; I have stuck with schooling through the end of college. I'm also on-grid morality-wise as I naturally follow the golden rule: do unto others as they do unto you.
What are the benefits of being on or off grid? What are the genetic underpinnings of a desire to relate to the mainstream or average in varying ways?
To what extent are we naturally chained to the mainstream that is completely inescapable? I didn't choose to speak English, I didn't choose to graduate from High School, nor did I choose to have an eclectic worldview. Those were all chosen by my parents. But my parents didn't really choose, but rather they too were emotionally trapped by a guilt that if they didn't give me those things they would be cutting me short. Imagine how much of a sin it would be not to teach your children a language or to deny them from schooling? why? See, there is a compellation that the "grid" makes you feel right and wrong automatically without a coherent rational analysis.
And it's this grid-based computing that is the essence of the cultural revolution in humans. You can call it grid-based, or memetics, or whatever. It's a matter of coupled oscillation and synchrony that provides much of the substance of style of living.