In the field of sociology, the research of human dependencies on civilization benefits of society is widely popular. In this context, the critical question is related to determining the degree of interconnection between an individual’s social behavior and tools of interaction with the environment. In other words, the paramount importance of sociological research in this direction is to clarify how inseparable is the connection of an individual as a unit of society and the material environment. The author of this essay has decided to conduct his experiment and to abandon any use of electricity during the 16 hours. The central result of the study was the recognition of the fact that the refusal to use electricity significantly affects the psychological context of the individual. The purpose of this paper is to describe changes in the author’s usual behavioral patterns under new experimental conditions.
Determining the degree of dependence
The result of the social experiment was to determine the degree of the author’s dependence on electricity: it was found out that absolute isolation from voltage networks creates serious problems both in everyday life and in the context of psychological self-perception. Initially, it should be recognized that a complete 16-hour power outage does not seem as significant as what happens in natural disasters. Human history knows many cases when the loss of electricity for an even more extended period for entire settlements was caused by a catastrophe (Castañeda-Garza et al. 119). For this reason, although 16 hours of failure is a sufficient period for the experiment, the real isolation from the grid for days and weeks causes a sense of fear and uncertainty, as the author’s life seems too much tied up in the use of electrical appliances. It was found that most of the psychological problems come in the middle of the day, while in the initial stages, deprivation of electricity is not a severe difficulty. Human consciousness is a surprisingly adaptive phenomenon, so the survival of the experiment was realized through raw food and water, candles, and reading books as elements of leisure (Gray). In other words, although the author managed to abandon electricity for a set period completely, psychological stress and lack of emotional support received became a serious challenge.
Scaling to the USA
The involuntary abandonment of power systems seems to be even more frightening since, unlike a controlled experiment, a grid break caused by a disaster cannot be paused or restored instantly. As a result, if a natural disaster occurs in the US tomorrow, tens of millions of citizens will be without electricity for an indefinite period (Härö). Indeed, at first, this situation will seem destructive because most people’s lives are tied up in comfort provided by the availability of electricity systems. Thus, people will have to restrain their needs and find alternative cooking methods, water, or transport (Gray). Most likely, people will have hope for the rapid restoration of electricity supply, which will become a social benchmark for the entire period of energy deprivation. For this reason, it would be a mistake to believe that the abandonment of electricity will benefit humanity and make life better. Undoubtedly, although the environment will indeed be modified and humans will have to adapt, it is unlikely that this will be the best way since a century of scientific experience on electricity use will eventually prove unjustified. In other words, too much in an individual’s life is tied to the use of energy systems, so the prolonged abandonment of them will begin to inhibit life satisfaction and comfort.
Although it is possible to physically survive a few hours of abandonment of electrical systems, psychologically, this environment causes severe stress. This effect is due to a strong connection between the individual’s behavior and electrical devices. For this reason, the scale of the problem across the country and lack of control over the situation causes a severe sociological crisis in which people can find the means to survive but can not get used to the changed living conditions. Stresses, dissatisfaction with life, and hopelessness can be factors that significantly reduce Americans’ quality of life in natural disasters. This means that it is of paramount importance to restore power supply systems as quickly as possible in times of natural disasters.
Castañeda-Garza, Gerardo, et al. “Visual Narrative of the Loss of Energy after Natural Disasters.” Climate, vol. 7, no. 10, 2019, pp. 118-132.
Gray, Richard. “What Would Happen in an Apocalyptic Blackout?” BBC Future, 2019, Web.
Härö, Erkki. “Electricity: How Long Could We Survive without it?” Urban Insight, 2019, Web.