I have a good friend and colleague at ACU who just started what he calls The Van Winkle Project.
My friend, a self-confessed news junkie, will be depriving himself of all news for one entire year. He fell asleep--Van Winkled--on September 11 and won't wake up until September 11, 2011. As the blog relates, this involves the following:
If something happens on this planet, my goal is to not know about it. This includes natural disasters:What is the Van Winkle Project interested in? Two things:
* Volcanic eruptions
* Epidemics and pandemics
I also will not have any inkling if there has been a man-made disaster or tragic happening:
* Airplane crashes
* Train derailments
* Freeway pileups
* Factory explosions
* Terrorist attacks
* Shootings, murders and kidnappings
* Wars (declared and undeclared)
* Oil spills
My information blackout, of course, precludes my knowing:
* Results of the mid-term elections on Nov. 2
* If the economy slips into a dreaded "double-dip" recession
* How the NFL or NBA seasons progress, who makes the playoffs, who wins the Super Bowl or the NBA championship
* Whether Tiger Woods gets his game back
As far as entertainment goes I will have no idea of:
* What new movies come out
* What new shows become hits on TV
* Who the next pop star or band everyone is buzzing about is
* What noteworthy books have been published
I will also be blind to and ignorant of the introduction of new products and their reception such as:
* iPad v. 2
* Chevy Volt
* Affordable 3D television sets
On a more sobering note, I won’t know about:
* Famous people who are splitsville, enter rehab, or simply die of causes natural or unnatural
1 - How I feel while I’m "asleep"I encourage you follow The Van Winkle Project over the year. In this world of 24/7 news cycles, the Internet, and mobile devices, I can't imagine a more interesting psycho-spiritual experiment.
Does a state of not knowing have a calming effect? Do emotions swing the other way so that I start to go crazy with curiosity? In the absence of facts and information, am I able to read clues as to what as to what has happened in people’s behavior or from a subtle but detectable buzz in the air? Do I suddenly have extra time on my hands and, if so, what does one do with it?
2 - What it might feel like to "wake up"
When my wife and son present me with oral evidence as well as textual (newspapers, magazines, web saves) of what has happened during the past year will I be amazed? Appalled? Will I really try to catch up on all or most of the news? Or will it be better to let those months in 2010-2011 rest in peace, the equivalent of a 365-day "lost weekend"?