when people introduce me and say ‘fred lives off the grid’, While I appreciate the intro, I always want to say: ‘I’m WAY beyond off-grid’… and if a conversation engages around it, I like to throw in the moniker: ‘I live off the dreadmill’… let me explain.
Our society loves path dependence. The history of humans is written on it. Path dependence implies we continue down the current path even though we know better paths – because it’s convenient and we ‘need to pay the mortgage/rent’. And of course, many industries profit enormously from the current path. it. Take oil, fast food, big box stores, etc.
I like the sound bite‘ we didn’t stop using whale oil for lighting because we ran out of whales’ And so too, we are blazing new paths not because we’re running out of resources (which certain groups want you to believe) as much as there are better options on the horizons (uber, AI, self-driving cars, robotics, etc)
Most people consider off-grid to be about energy independence. Beyond off-grid is doing the full monty on cutting the cord that ties us to centralized services – usually operated by far-away corporate conglomerates. As costs increase, reliability decreases and other issues arise; some people are thinking ‘there’s gotta be a better way’. Enter Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and others trying to tie us to a new ‘grid’ : one based on techno foundations that eerily remind me of just a different flavor of the same ole dreadmill – but with even more addictive, co-dependent properties.