I was video chatting with my grandson not too long ago. I forget exactly what we were discussing, but we somehow landed on the topic of how I looked up information as a kid. My explanation of library books and encyclopedias made perfect sense to me. My grandson had no idea what I was talking about. When I told them there was no Google way back then, he looked like he was going to cry.
My 8-year-old grandson has never known a world without the internet. He has never known a world without Google, YouTube, and everything else the internet brings to bear. He cannot even imagine what that would be like. Come to think of it, imagining a world without the internet isn’t easy for me either. And I lived without for more than three decades!
We Have Gotten Used to It
Intellectually, I know I lived without the internet for a long time. I can even recall vivid memories of using encyclopedias, looking up phone numbers in the yellow pages, etc. But I have gotten so used to having the internet at my disposal that I can’t imagine living in the modern world without it.
We got along without the internet fifty years ago because we didn’t have it. Not only that, but it also wasn’t even a thing. It is different today because we have gotten used to it. We have become so used to the internet that we have built our lives around it. For example, we can no longer pull out the yellow pages to find business phone numbers. The yellow pages don’t exist.
If the internet suddenly stopped working today, we would lose access to all kinds of data that used to be kept in other formats. That is what makes it so difficult to imagine a modern world without the internet. It is more than just Google and YouTube. Nearly every aspect of modern life has some sort of connection to the internet.
Some Live with Less
It is interesting to know that, even with the prevalence of the internet in modern life, some people live with less. Here in the U.S., there are people living in rural areas without wired broadband. They can get internet through satellite providers, DSL providers, or perhaps even dial up. Then there are companies like Blazing Hog that offer 4G rural wireless internet using cell signals.
Even with those options, there are some rural residents who choose to continue living without the internet. Good for them. More power to anyone who chooses to live differently. I am just not sure I could do it. If I had to, I could adapt. But living without the internet sure would be tough.
Then there are those places in the world with no internet service whatsoever. They are few and far between, but they do exist. Furthermore, they are populated by people who live happy and productive lives despite not being connected to the rest of the world.
It’s the Cycle of Life
You could say that changing technologies are just part of the cycle of life. When my grandparents were still alive, they could tell stories about life before the automobile. They remembered growing up before there was television. I don’t remember either of those things because I hadn’t been born yet. I have never known a world without automobiles and TVs.
Likewise, there are things my great grandchildren will grow up with and take for granted. They will be things I lived without for my entire life. In light of that, perhaps imagining a world without the internet isn’t so hard after all.