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GET OFF THE GRID!!! well, O.k. just one day out of seven. No cars or busses. No work or stress. You can hear the birds...

More sleep, more fun, more family... Tens of thousands of years mankind survived, strived and succeeded in propagating the species without the technologies we now possess. Technologies that we have become quite adapted to and even reliant upon for most, if not all of our daily activities. Can we manage to enjoy our lives, our very existence without leaning on this technology, for a minute? for an hour? for a day? Are we doomed to be hooked on external power sources and technology or can we or are we even capable to imagine one day in seven without it? What do you think? Could you? Would you?

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    Aug 28 2013: "That's wonderful John but not the point I wish to make. After all the reduction in power and energy dependence and the fantastic effect on our surroundings, there remains our perceived "need" for all of the technology to thrive."

    Yes Mark, I agree and I see in my remark where the confusion was introduced. I have corrected that statement.

    I don't see any reason why we cannot maintain our technological creations. There is ample energy available for us to continue to use and create more, technology. The home I'm buying was built by an engineer who's intentions were to get off the grid. It is a large home, over 3000 sq. feet with a two car garage. The highest energy bill he had was $119.00 with an average of $87.00. He incorporated a state of the art, instant hot water system, 5 zone air conditioning system and indoor private well. This home was built with three acres of garden land for under $200,000.00. His garden plots were laid out to fetch complete light in all seasons. Such a design only need planning and understanding of Energy consumption. He had solar panel system that provide all the light and electrical energy for home lighting, entertainment, and landscaping lights. Any home can be redone in this manner for under $30,000.00.

    He liked his toys. :) I also like my toys.

    My ultimate desire is that humanity would create a type I civilization which would offer unlimited, clean, energy for all individuals. It would be so cheap it wouldn't be worth paying for the service of billing people. It is doable.

    Before we can create such a Civilization, we must want it more than anything else in life.
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    Sep 4 2013: A number of years ago, good friend retired at a young age and went to live in a 350 year old home his wife inherited in Alsace area of France. I went to visit. They keep the house in the original condition with a wood cook stove in the kitchen, a hand pump for water in the sink, the fireplace that heated the house. The house was as off the grid as one could get. He talked about getting solar panels to charge a battery system for his radio, which is currently battery operated. He did have a telephone. He was technology free every day of the week. He keeps 200 beehives which keeps him in candles if he stays up late. He tells me, he is better rested, has no worries or stress and lives his life with his bees, his garden and small livestock. I can't explain it, but I am envious.
  • Aug 23 2013: to the extent that we are self sufficient we don't need the grid, or the culture which produced it. greater self sustainability for everyone who can do so is a long term solution. grow food on all available space (lawns, etc) and produce your own energy (alcohol instead of gasoline, 100% green) for starters. small communities like villages can create interdependence which is much healthier than large social structure.
    • Aug 27 2013: Well Robert, maybe now, after dozens of interesting replies to my "idea", I can make my point a bit clearer, with the help of your reply.

      You see, you mention that, "we don't need the grid or the culture that produced it", though we are ythe culture that produced it. Seemingly everywhere where people have been exposed to "progressive technology" they fall head over heels for it and what's to follow is an overwhelming, all-encompassing change in habit and life style.

      I wonder and propose my idea of "one day off the grid" as a method to try and have it all. The endless lists of things which only the modern world could have given us along side those "relics" of by-gone times which are modern lives are wanting of.

      Often it is said that our physical, material world, with it's options and choioces, has created a world far beyond our "comfort zone". Physiologically, psychologically, culturally, we are still much the same, still very much like our ancestors of 20,000 years ago. maybe there is something in the quite and simplicity that we really need, maybe one day a week can balance the deficit. Maybe.
      • Sep 2 2013: i do not see the people as being the same as the culture, perhaps that isn't the right word though. i differentiate between individuals and society. as far as one day off the grid, i'm not sure how you could implement that. self sufficiency is an idea that would sell itself, it seems to me that much of oour current situation is the result of all of our energies and possibilities being tied in collectively to our society and so i look at it from that perspective. however if it were possible to implement the idea you suggest that would be great.
  • Aug 14 2013: Not a chance if you want to live like a cave man strip off your clothes and hide in a dark corner while defending yourself from nature trying to kill you in every way. Plus even back in the older days they still had technology? they had tons! of it the first human to pick up a stick and hit another with it made the first technology. And the real question is why would you want to live without technology? if you did you would be dead by 30 and you entire life would be a constant battle for food.
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    Aug 14 2013: I can and do, which is a pompous way for me to start my reply but it's true. I enjoy those unplugged hours, those disconnected days. There is a certain kind of peace and quiet that can only be found when you have absolutely no idea what day of the week it is, let alone the time of day.

    I highly encourage people to investigate the severity of their addiction to technology. There are 'blue zones,' places on earth where people's level of happiness is highest, that have no or very little technology. If people can't do a whole day, morning, noon and night, than I suggest they spread those 24 hours over the 168 hours of the week. At least three hours a day should be manageable.

    I think more people would if they saw what a huge benefit it would be both for themselves and for the world.
  • Sep 12 2013: I have no car, no gas, no license, no insurance, no TV, no cable, no DVD, no stove, no oven, no microwave.
    I do have a computer, internet, fan, a/c-heater, refrigerator, hot water, 5 stage filtered water.
    Getting off the grid is a priority in my life but I am not there yet.
    I was raised on a farm so I already know what is needed and have the experience.
    I am retired, collect S.S. and live in a studio under a large tree so listening to the birds is a priority for me.
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    Aug 28 2013: All expectations are the grid will self-destruct as new alternative energy sources increase. My reading places the date around twenty years from now. The grid will become so pricey and unmanageable that most companies and homes will have some sort of local power source. Natural Gas is also on the horizon to assist in this transference. The only reason it has not happened to date is due to the reliance of governments on the revenue produce by this energy wasting system. They continue to support it in lieu of other, greener, more efficient systems.
    • Aug 28 2013: Hi John, the "grid" we are discussing here isn't any one particular energy source but, rather, our dependency on all the stuff we have created and have become, of our own doing, dependent upon. Can we just take a break from it one day a week and still really enjoy being?
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        Aug 28 2013: The goal is towards localized power generation Mark. It's a growing phenomena. Such power sources don't need a grid.

        The home I'm currently purchasing had a 2.5 kilowatt solar panel array. It's over 3,000 square feet and the highest energy bill recorded was $119.00. I'll be adding a natural gas generator to that home. With some rain storage. My goal is ti reduce my energy needs to the essential. If 150 million people did that it in the U.S. it would severely affect the profits made from a grid system.
        • Aug 28 2013: That's wonderful John but not the point I wish to make. After all the reduction in power and energy dependance and the fantastic effect on our surroundings, there remains our perceived "need" for all of the technology to thrive. Can we do without it for one day out of seven, that is my idea. After you have moved in to the new house, by the way, congratulations, can you imagine yourself just one day a week, reading when there is sunlight, sleeping when it is dark, listening to the sounds that come from the wind, trees, birds, grass, footsteps on the gravel path that leads to your door, crickets, are there still crickets or frogs, hey what about a brook or the laughter of kids at play or whatever.
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    Aug 20 2013: Thanks Mark,

    You hit the nail square on the head, when you say "we make the effort..." In this day and age, many people have no clue what the few of us who truly know what it takes to first realize something is pleasantly different and then to actually act on it. I, for one, clearly remember the times when my dad got everyone in the car and we would drive out into the country--just to "listen" to those sounds. I didn't appreciate those Sunday afternoon drives near as much as I have in recent years, long after the passing of my dad.

    Thanks for the memories!
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    Aug 19 2013: Decades ago, when I was a teenager and into my 20’s I used to go “geocaching,” only in those days I didn’t have access to a GPS. Instead, it was a pure Treasure Hunt. I could lose myself (and the world), sometimes for days without ever thinking about anything else.

    Then after I retired, I got modern...bought myself a hand-held GPS and went geo-caching. A lot of fun, but otherwise did much the same thing. I still continued to use my grandfathers manual compass and used my brain to figure out the written clues. I never thought of myself to be a cave man as Charles Curt suggests, although one of the very best times for me happens each and every day for nearly six hours. No traffic, no people, no trains, no sirens, just the sounds of birds outside adding a little harmony to that wonderful peaceful sounds of total dead QUIET!
    • Aug 20 2013: "wonderful peaceful sounds of...Quiet!" There it is John, right there in your conclusion. We all know, somehow, that there is undeniably, something very real and good going on when all the stuff we have created (very good stuff as well) is on hold for a bit.

      Look, we say the "sounds of quiet" (silence?) and we aren't referring to nothingness, to vacuum. When we make the effort we are sometimes lucky enough to hear, see, feel, know, things that have accompanied the development of mankind from our earliest origins. That can't be bad if it got us this far.
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    Aug 14 2013: Fyodor Dostoyevsky - "Man is a creature that can get used to anything, and I think that is the best definition of him."
  • Aug 13 2013: For many city dwellers, they have small living spaces, If you keep them inside or without a car, then they would be hopping crazy simply because they would have nothing to enjoy life or outdoor entertainment. If they plan to listen to the birds, they have to drive to some countryside and stay overnight, then that won't save any energy or resources that much either.
    Unless you provide some official tour bus to transport them to the countryside or parks, then it probably will cause less stress or boring and enhance their spirit.
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      Aug 14 2013: City dwellers don't have to dwell on the downsides of their situation sans technology. They can go for a walk, meditate, read a book by candlelight, play an instrument at an open window, find some nature in their urban setting, even if they have to use a magnifying glass to do so (and they won't but the magnifying glass would still be fun.)

      I live in a studio apartment and I have no car and I live in the city. I have no TV, no microwave, no stereo. And I'm not bouncing off the walls...
  • Aug 13 2013: Interesting points Don. While being off the grid can and maybe should include a certain state of mind, surviving well without our technological appendages is the entire point, being able to really "do it" sans technology.
    A rose by any other name...
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    Aug 13 2013: It’s a matter of keeping things in balance, for me that means some of each every day.
    I have a computer desk job, but also spend time off-grad walking my dog, garden and lawn care or some other home project. I eat a balance diet with food that is healthy and tasty.
    I also balance between living the past, present and future. So I stop and smell the roses (present), and speeching of roses I planted 6 rose bushes this year (future) and found ancestors that were involved in the War of the Roses. (Past)

    Strange when research my ancestry I feel off grid, even though I’m not.
    So I’m thinking that going off grid is more of a state of mind, then being disconnected from technology.
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    Aug 13 2013: I think you may have mixed two themes here, Mark. I believe when people say get off the grid, they are not saying not to work or that you'll have no stress, they are saying you still have to work and may have some stress, but you can work in a simpler way where you are more directly self-sufficient. For instance you can have a little farm where you mostly raise your own food, wear simple clothing and have a simple house, maybe not have heavy farm machinery but just simple tools, not necessarily have a television or computer, maybe do things like wash clothes in a less machine-oriented way. But there is still work and probably some stress.

    I would imagine myself that noone is 100% off the grid or 100% on it, that people make individual choices about places in their life where they want to live simply, and places where they are more technological. I wash a lot of clothes by hand and dry them on a clothesline, and I really enjoy that, but I sometimes use a washing machine, and that's okay, too. I don't have a car, so I walk almost everywhere, but sometimes I enjoy taking a car or bus somewhere. So life seems like a mix.
    • Aug 13 2013: No mix up here Greg though there is plenty of room for everyone to interpret the term and my intention, which was and still is that for one day, just one day out of seven, to "take it back a notch" and to spend that day unencumbered by as much of what we rely upon during the other six days, as we can while still enjoying it.

      For some people "the grid" is about computers, for others it's about energy supply dependance and still there may be additional interpretations and they all work for me as my emphasis is on how focused we can be upon ourselves, other people and the natural world, again, just one day out of seven. Thanks for the "heads up" on the possible misunderstanding.
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        Aug 13 2013: Well, hope I don't seem nitpicky, technically you could get "off the grid" for one day out of seven, yet still do work and have stress during that day. Like I say, someone could live very simply in a very rural area, be "off the grid," and yet still have to work seven days a week to keep the farm going, as animals perhaps have to be fed seven days a week, cows milked seven days a week, and so on. And there could be stress.

        If you're promoting a day of rest every seven days, something like the Jewish Sabbath, I tend to doubt our physiology really wants to go 24 hours straight without activity, it seems like something in our body wants to be somewhat active at least at times every day. I tried the Jewish Sabbath for a while, I'm not Jewish but have many Jewish friends, but I think 24 hours straight of rest gets funny enough kind of tiresome. I prefer to just rest here and there throughout the seven-day week, couple of hours here, couple of hours there, it feels more natural.

        I think it might get tiresome to go off the grid completely one day a week, like sticking to a rigid rule that you can't use any technology for 24 hours. I think it's more interesting to design a life that uses the grid where you want to, when you want to, and doesn't use it in situations where you don't want it, when you don't want it. Often during a week I'll just lie in bed for half an hour or an hour, no radio, no TV, just quiet, but I wouldn't want to do this for 24 hours straight.
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          Aug 13 2013: I am guessing your Jewish friends don't interpret resting the way you may be interpreting it. For example, people use the day to read, study, and discuss ideas with other members of their community. People take walks either alone or with other families. What observant Jews do not do on their sabbath is anything that could be construed as manual labor. This includes, say, fixing stuff around the house or driving. People don't turn lights or stoves off or on but can typically leave those on timers. Reading things in your briefcase that you need to do for work would not typically be okay, but reading things you want to read and understand for your own purposes is fine.

          For many people the stretch away from normal labors takes them away from the norms of the work week better than an hour here and there, but the tradition has religious rather than strictly practical origin.
        • Aug 13 2013: Definitely not feeling the "nitpicky" and glad you expounded. O.K. I did say "no stress" :) well that is not guaranteed by, well, by anything really. "No grid" (whatever the definition) and "no stress", are not mutually inclusive as you handily pointed out. Yup, there are still chores but then, I never said we should meditate for the 24 hours either, though there are worse ways to pass the time.

          Don't really want to go theological here, but I wasn't as much promoting the resting part of the day off as I was wondering if we could swing it, you know, sure milk the cows water them horses and whatever but those are easy choices because there is no choice, you have to milk the cows, right?

          But can we experience pleasure, enjoyment, community, togetherness, self-worth, growth, interest...without being supported, or by being minimally supported by the technological umbilical cord that we have artificially attached ourselves to?

          Its not so much about what you won't be doing as it is about what you will be doing. Talking with family, a walk, a run, preparing a meal. Yes, the things we've learned to categorize as mundane. How warped is that, huh? A walk with friends or family mundane?

          Just existing a little, breathing in, breathing out. Could we do it or have we been conditioned beyond all repair, by our own hand, to disregard that which is most accessible to us, ourselves?
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        Aug 13 2013: Yeah, I don't know if people in general want to live off the grid for blocks of time, say an hour block, a two-hour block, a 24-hour block. The only people I spend much time with besides myself are my mother and sister. My mother definitely doesn't want to go off the grid, any time of just lying in bed the TV is on, my mother says she doesn't want to think as she gets afraid of the future. My sister also rarely goes off the grid, in spare time she is playing computer video game and has TV going off to side. As I've said, I like to lie in bed here and there and just think, or exist, for an hour or two, oh, I probably do this here and there for eight or ten hours total a week, but I wouldn't want to do it all day one day a week, it's something I need here and there and when I need it I need it. My guess would be that more people are like my sister and mother. It is hard for me to understand them, personally I need some time to process what happens during the day, but I guess they don't. But I think Mark it's about doing what comes naturally, if it comes to someone naturally to take time out, great, if they naturally always want to have a device going, that's fine, too. I can't imagine you'd force anyone to go off the grid if they didn't want to, would you?
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    Aug 13 2013: Hi Mark

    Get off the Grid now and forever.
    Believe me It is possible all the time with work, with duties and with cars and buses.

    Remain off the Grid ,Why hop on and hop off.

    Remain off the Grid all the time, why only for the week end.

    Remain off the Grid with cars and buses, with work or no work.

    Hear the birds and enjoy life all the time.
    • Aug 13 2013: Hear the birds and enjoy life all the time, sure, but no technology, ever?
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        Aug 13 2013: With the technology, with every thing we can still enjoy life. Its how we take our work and relationships
        I will recommend you to read and practice " Karma Yoga."
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        Aug 14 2013: The Path of Selfless Service
        Karma Yoga is the path of ‘action’, of putting in 100 percent effort, without being attached to the outcome. Karma yoga can be applied to everything you do: from the most trivial, ordinary tasks to greater, more challenging works. When action is performed selflessly, with full focus and attention, it brings fulfillment and freedom. Acting without being attached to the fruits of one's deeds – this alone can lead to union with the Self, which is the goal of yoga.

        What is known as seva or service among The Art of Living community is nothing other than Karma Yoga – it is the selfless giving of oneself through the medium of work and stems from love which finds fulfillment in pure giving without thought of self-gain or acknowledgement. Karma Yoga is closely linked to Bhakti Yoga, for without love and devotion, it would be impossible to serve others selflessly. Performing one’s duties and serving humanity without any selfish motives purifies the heart and brings satisfaction.

        “Thy right is to work only, but never with its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive, nor let thy attachment be to inaction. As the ignorant men act from attachment to action, so should the wise act without attachment, wishing the welfare of the world.”
        ~ The Bhagavad Gita

        “When you make service your sole purpose in life, it eliminates fear, focuses your mind and gives you meaning.”
        ~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
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      Aug 14 2013: Get back on the grid when you need immediate medical attention.
  • Aug 13 2013: But there are so many variables. The best reasons I've seen from earlier comments is to get in touvh with earlier ways. But don't ignore the other problems.
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    • Aug 13 2013: Could you sing, hum, play the drums or guitar or maybe hear the wind, birds... one day out of seven?
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        • Aug 13 2013: Wow Jaen, three days is quite a lot but what do you think about just one, nice, special day that you set aside? A day for you and the things that make you feel good and alive and can be gotten without, let's say your car or your t.v. Is it possible?
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          Aug 14 2013: Maybe you would consider going without music not for three days but for three weeks so that you can realize how much your heart aches to have it as a daily part of your life and it might even provide the impetus to learn an instrument?

          Otherwise, go without music and listen to wind chimes, bird songs, etc. Listen to all the sounds in the world that classical composers try so hard to re-create with musical notes. Go to the source, listen to the actual sounds themselves!
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      Aug 13 2013: Away from city lights the darkness of the night sky is the canvas upon which the stars, planets, galaxies, and meteors play-out their spectacular nightly performance. You will, as you watch the show, begin to hear the Music of the Spheres. It is glorious to experience!
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        Aug 14 2013: Yeah, between cloud coverage and light pollution I missed the Perseid meteor shower three straight nights this weekend.
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    Aug 13 2013: .

    Why not "get off the grid" forever?

    Then we can be happy validly forever,
    as 10,000 years ago,
    without self-extinction through technology also!
    • Aug 13 2013: Gee, not sure that people 1,000 years ago or 10,000 years ago were a whole lot happier but today, maybe we can just take one small step back, once a week?
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        Aug 13 2013: .

        In 10,000 years ago, people did not have today's "money'.
        The money makes greed.
        Greed makes all evil.
        Evil makes unhappiness.
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    Aug 12 2013: If we don't get off the grid on a regular bases we will lose touch with the natural world and our humanity.
    • Aug 12 2013: "off the grid on a regular basis" emphasizes nicely Raymond, our default as being "on the grid" and sure a bit more nature sounds good to me
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    Aug 12 2013: Must I also eschew any and all products of the GRID? If yes, forget it! If no, let's go camping!
    • Aug 12 2013: no good guys or bad guys here Edward, no directives, rules, or restrictions either, just like camping though, sometimes...should I say it, less is well, more?
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        Aug 12 2013: OK. So I can take "stuff" with me on this off-the-grid escapade! Laptop; smart phone; WIFI ; Kindle; generator; TV; propane appliances; port-a-potty; food; shelter; clothing; motor vehicle; video games; bluray dvd's; gps; satellite receiver; have I forgotten anything? Am I missing the point?
        • Aug 13 2013: Thanks for pointing out the need for a bit of clarification, "off the grid" serves me here to express life "unplugged" and basic. The camping analogy was great. "Less load, more road"
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        Aug 13 2013: RE: "Thanks for pointing out. . . ". Got it! And you're welcome.Your idea is a good one. Many (most) city dwellers cannot imagine life without the power grid (including those battery-powered devices which must be regularly recharged by corded connection to the power grid) for 24-hours. What a benefit is there for all to discover! Good idea sir! Certainly an idea worth sharing. Thanks.