Are we really that Connected?

Last Update: December 09, 2014

Recent power outages in my country prompted me to think on how important is it, really, to be so 'connected' in today's world? (Cartoon by Leunig whose excellent drawings are an ideal antidote for today's 'overclocked world.')

I was brought up in rural South Africa. In my area, no electricity until I was 17. No Net, TV, or Cell phone, just a shared farm party line between about 10 farms, with up to half an hour wait to connect to the nearest town. Only lamps, candles and hot water from a fire under a drum or wood stove. The "fridge" was a box out in the shade, meshed with cinder brick, over which water flowed. Ice we got from the occasional hail storm in summer, or frozen pond in winter. No coke and the only fizzy drinks we saw were at rich kids birthday parties. Otherwise CoolAid, or my mother's delicious ginger beer she made in summer. Sometimes only soap, salt or charcoal for toothpaste! No supermarkets, yet we could pick fruit and vegetables directly off the tree and out of the earth. We lived under a tin roof that leaked needing buckets underneath, but we could actually hear the rain. Only dirt roads, needing mud chains on car tires in the wet summers season, and journeys through clouds of dust during the dry winters. We never rushed for antibiotics and Doctors. My grandmothers concoctions and treatments were sufficient, at little cost and with no side effects.

I've never regretted my childhood. I had a freedom and closeness to my environment and others, that today's 'city kids' will never know or appreciate.

We were not "connected" like now, yet in many ways we were MORE connected as human beings, and had the time for each other. Also we had books, books, books. (even if we had to read by candlelight!:).

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LornaAllen Premium
Excellent read! A few years ago while travelling in rural Africa it struck me very forcefully how this was the first time I had ever gone for miles without seeing a street light or any sign of electricity - groups of people huddled around fires for light and heat. Its struck me that this was the way it has always been for humans before the advent of electricity - we take so much for granted.....
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skc Premium
Thanks for your nice comment. Yes Africa is known as the "Dark Continent" for good reason!
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go2girl365 Premium
I often tell my husband I wish we could just go back a couple of decades, not because it was easier, but because there seemed to be more core values. It's sad to see the state of the world today.
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skc Premium
I guess one just has to try to change the circumstances we're in to suit us however we're able to or just accept thing as they are. There will always be what we like and dislike.
The world has always been in a sad state. I think back to my parents time, WW2 and before that WW1 etc
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Dudoni Premium
You reminded me of my childhood. There was a lack of everything, but we rarely missed anything. My first seven years were through communism government. It was not that long ago but it seems as another life.
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skc Premium
Yes I think today we often have too much of everything and is it making us any happier? I wonder...
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Kathy331 Premium
Love the picture you paint of your childhood. Living where I do in rural Scotland I'm quite often left without electric but I have my candles and shelves full of books. :)
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Dudoni Premium
Oh, this is so romantic. :)
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skc Premium
and hot water bottles of course!
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Kathy331 Premium
Oh yes, I have 6 in the cupboard and a camping stove!
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Lesmyb Premium
So true! I was quite surprised to find myself suddenly in darkness at 8pm last night - I had not expected it after a whole weekend of "load shedding".

I had to smile at the picture you paint of your childhood. Not very different from mine, and not too different from the way I live now. We have a dirt road (1.5km) that gets very muddy in the rain season. We have the wood fire under the drum for hot water. Very poor cell-phone signal and no chance of a data connection. But we do have electricity - most of the time.

I remember the farm "party-lines" and we had a generator on the farm that was used for a few hours in the evening (otherwise it was lamps and candles). The really sad thing is, back then, we had a lot more time for people. Now "things" take up most of our time and people have to share the little that is left.
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skc Premium
Exactly what I feel! I remember going to the farm in your area in the 70's. Still no electricity then, no TV etc. In fact I did not see or hear the news for 3 weeks and it made no difference at all!
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