In praise of an offline life

From a post I left in response to a classmate on our class’ Blackboard discussion board:

I realized that I’m suffering musical ADHD from having such easy access to music online (thanks, Pandora and Youtube!). My parents bought me my first tape player in 1996 and gave me only one tape (Deanna Carter’s first album–which is amazing!). I nearly broke it from flipping it over and over, for hours, days, months on end. I loved sticking my finger into the little jagged hole and winding the tape back. It was an experience all of it’s own. Tangible, real.

Now, I have access to an unimaginable array of music for every mood, for every earworm, so much that I’ll never make my way through every single by every artist I’m interested in. And you know what? I’m not any happier for it.

In regards to paintings, Mona Lisa is a great example especially when you realize that the painting is TINY! People assume when they see it on TV that it’s like….3×5″ or something. And you can’t replace the feeling of “holy crap” when you go to the Smithsonian and you see these paintings which are wider and taller than your house. You stare in slack jaw wonder as you try to figure out how the painter did them and even more puzzling, how they were moved around!

You lose these very essential parts of experiencing the world when you do it simply online. It’s no more being a “real version” than looking at someone else’s vacation photos and trying to pretend that you were there and these photos are your memories.

Objects are more than just the image or the content that can be shared online. It is also the experience.