Well, it wasn’t too long after recording my previous videos about the world of electronic communication and how we are living inside this electronic world that there was a day with some heavy winds, and the power went out for a couple of hours at night all the way down my street.
And it’s quite a reminder that really, this whole electronic world is so fragile, in a way.
It really depends on having this whole infrastructure set up for power generation and distribution, this grid.
And without it, if anything interrupts that grid, then we will no longer have access to this electronic world.
And it really could just be taken away suddenly, in a way so much more easily, in a way, than life itself.
In a way like this physical, chemical, biological life has a lot of resilience to it.
It can take a lot of severe changes, severe disruptions.
But the electric world, if there’s any kind of interruption in the circuit, it will just shut down for at least that particular area.
And so I went for a walk down the street, and you know, for really a couple of kilometres right down the street it was all dark, the traffic lights were out, and really had the feeling of being a country road.
You can just hear the beeping of, you know, electric alarms inside different buildings, announcing that they’ve lost power, and there was this eerie kind of silence over the place.
And what really stands out, and what really would be striking to anybody who lives in a city like me, is just the level of darkness when the regular lights are out.
And what we think of as night in the city is so brightly illuminated by all these night lights everywhere, the street lights and lights coming from shops.
And the real night is so much darker than what we normally think of as a regular city night.
And it made me think that this world outside electricity, outside electronics, outside the internet, outside all kinds of communications: that world is still there underneath the grid, underneath the layer that we place on top of it.
And while so much of our focus, our attention, our language that we speak in is within the electronic world, so much of what we do, and yet, all the time, underneath it, there still is this physical world that has nothing to do with electronic technology.
That is entirely a layer.
But we live so much inside this electric layer that it’s so easy to just forget and become unaware of this simple world underneath.
Actual material things.
When the power goes out, when the electric flow is stopped, suddenly makes me question, well, what is actually real without some kind of electric charge to power it? Then we have, OK, physical bodies and physical structures.
Really like the base matter.
Now of course, still have cellular phone coverage.
That’s still working.
So- and even like the streetcars were running.
They’re on their own grid.
At least from this power outage.
It was such a small little piece of the overall grid that was shut down for only a short time, and it just gave a little bit of a glimpse into what things would be like without this whole grid that charges the everyday world we’re used to.
So it leads me to the question: what would I do? What would I do in a world without electronics? What would there be left to do? So much just is taken off the table, and yet that’s the way the world is and that’s the way it was until very recently electronics started to take over.
It seems to be somehow useful to remember what was there at one time before everything became about communications, became about electric life.
So that’s my question to you: what would you do in a world without electronics?
#poweroutage #noelectricity #underthegrid