Sunday, June 7, 2015

Does Buying In to the Internet and It's Trappings Make You Poor ?


           An acquaintance of mine this week was lamenting that he doesn't have the cash in order to prep although he very much understands the need to have some emergency food stored.  Other than encouraging him to look at his monthly bills, there wasn't a lot I could encourage him to do because in actuality, he enjoys a larger monthly cash flow than I do.   He has a monthly television bill of $130., fees for an expensive phone, and an internet bill of almost a hundred dollars monthly.    His non-essential recurrent bills are about $350. monthly.  I use an antenna in my attic which means I pay nothing for television. My cell phone costs twenty dollars monthly and it allows me to make brief or emergency calls both here and in Canada. My internet is not the speediest on the planet because I live in a very rural area and because the high speed type isn't available here anyway. This translates into my having a couple of hundred dollars monthly to put away emergency supplies which I think might well be more important than being as connected to the cloud as my friend is.  I'll let you know which revisions he chooses to make.


                  The internet is a wonderful thing.  I have bought many things online for less money than I could acquire them within a day's drive.   I have taken courses online which broadened my understanding and abilities on everything from my job to gardening and animal care. Some years ago now I sold outgrown sporting equipment and clothing from our family on Ebay.   The internet made sending chapters of my books back and forth to the publisher much easier than mailing it and waiting would have been. I have been able to stay in touch with some of my friends whose paths have taken them around the world as a benefit of the internet. I have friends who started internet businesses with very low overhead and have generated consistent supplemental incomes.

               However, the internet is also an energy vampire.  It takes time, attention, and money that we could be using to advance our interests in the real world.    Many people use the internet as a sanitized way of having friends and living a life.  They spend a disproportionate amount of money maintaining their connection to cyberspace, and have little left to live an actual life.  They spend hours a day talking to a funny college student in Minsk yet they haven't shared five minutes worth of conversation to their own family members.   In addition, having too much information on the internet constitutes a terrible security risk.  Once information is out, it can't easily be put back in the box.

               Don't get me wrong.  I understand that a lot of business contacts are made in cyberspace.  I understand that the world has changed and that many jobs are obtained there.  However, I think the future probably belong to, and is best enjoyed by those who understand that the internet is simply a tool, not really a place where all of our needs can be met and most of our lives can be lived.    Perhaps we should continue to see it as a tool and not a place and draw some lines as to how much time and how much of our hard earned assets should be invested in it on a monthly basis.