Living Off-Grid Mentally, Physically, Spiritually, Linguistically, etc.

by phil on Monday Apr 19, 2004 12:54 PM

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.


brandon said on April 21, 2004 5:49 AM:

to be off-grid, to go entirely against how one was 'designed', would be death or nonexistence, would it not?
not that i'm condoning the idea of following the mainstream. in fact, i do not think that the words 'mainstream', 'average', or 'normal' should be taken as seriously as they are. Nor should they enter into our account of how to live. That is, defiance of the grid for it's own sake is just as shallow and pointless as acceptance on the same terms.
A morality must be established on principles that do not relate to convention. However, convention being the mode through which humans make sense of the universe makes it impossible to have a 'correct' morality. We are caught between two blank expressions - faith in the system, or no system (which means no life). Living somewhere between these is probably the only tolerable way to survive, but that does not give it the stamp of absolute truth. Nothing has that stamp. And so we find that there is no such thing as morality.

Philip Dhingra said on April 21, 2004 4:51 PM:

I admit that this grid distinction is as vague as saying "be natural"

For, even suicide could be considered being on-grid. Chimps who have been really sad have been known to drown themselves. This could be designed to allow members of the tribe to self-select themselves out if they grasp that they are doing everyone else harm. For example if you killed someone and became so guilty about it that you wanted to kill yourself, it could be to protect your children or other relatives from having a parent who is a killer.

Any emotion preceding suicide would in someway indicate that you are carrying out some will that is probably in large part inculcated by culture.

So this gridness-rating should probably not be considered a concrete word, but rather one of those flexible words like moral or blue--something whose definition depends on what 90% of people would think is agreeable. Hitler was "immoral" and the sky is "blue" kind of word.

So, then, then to simplify this we could just say "being unpopular" as being "off-grid."

heh, hmm. If I used the word "unpopular" that would've made this whole discussion a lot simpler. However, there is something about using the labels "on-grid" and "off-grid" probably because it connotates the existence of a matrix that we are hooked into or not hooked into. A matrix, therefore, being something more solid than say "popular opinion"

brandon said on April 21, 2004 7:47 PM:

it does have a more poetic ring to it.

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