Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dirty Electricity

by J.S. Holland

I was a luddite even when I was a kid, and it brings me no pleasure to be able to say now that I was right all along.

I've never fallen for the scam of CFL light bulbs, but even knowing how toxic they were, it wasn't until this past weekend that I finally issued a statement to friends that I will no longer visit you if you have them in your home. Seemingly, a sort of generalized stupor and complacency kept me from taking such an obvious action until now. (And if that action doesn't seem obvious to you, you might be suffering from stupor too.)

Even without considering the environmental factors and the nutritional factors that both contribute to lessened physical health and mental acuity, there's another big fat white elephant in the room just begging to have its foot turned into an umbrella stand for the great room - it's electrical pollution that we're being bombarded with around the clock, twenny-fo' sev'na. I've always known that electrical devices generate their own electromagnetic field in an invisible aura around it - back in the 1980s I experimented with gaussmeters and a earphone device that translated leaking EMF fields into a sonic signal you could hear, and it was immediately made crystal clear that everywhere we go, our cells are being exposed to weird stuff they were never naturally meant to.

Of course, I was younger then, and adopted, as I still do today, Brian Setzer's wise rhetorical dictum, "How long you wanna live, anyway?" Buddhism, James Dean style. Dialectic physics a go go. But now that I'm no longer knee high to a grasshopper I plan to stick around this mortal coil long enough to watch the sky come tumblin' down, if I may be permitted a second Setzerian quotation in the same paragraph. So, then, a judicious balance between prudent and laissez-faire behavior must be struck.

We have no choice but to soak up the radioactive Iodine-131 (half-life: 8 days), Cesium-137 (half-life: 30 years), and Plutonium-244 (half-life: 80 million years), that continue to spew into the soil, water, and air even as I type these words. We do have a choice to eat healthier foods, but the sketchiness of our current world situation makes me more inclined to "live it up" while I still can, so I still continue to imbibe alcohol in moderation, smoke my pipe in moderation, and eat candy and cookies and cake and cheetos and crap, moderation out the window. (I won't knowingly touch anything with artificial sweeteners, however, needless to say.)

Electricity, on the other hand, now that's something I can do without. People used to think that it was only fluorescent lighting that messed with you, triggering migraines in some, malaise and depression in others, circadian rhythm disturbances and apnea for still others - but we now know that all artificial lighting contributes to these problems and many others. I got a taste of this firsthand during Louisville's power blackout of September 2008, when I realized how drastically better I felt when I suddenly wasn't soaking in fifty different electrical fields and bathing in unnatural light. I was perfectly content with having no electricity, although some of my friends were truly suffering withdrawal from their addictions to the presence of that subliminal electrical hum that you think you don't hear but on some level you do.

And so, recently I undertook an experiment and eliminated as many sources of electrical power as I could from the house here at the ol' JSH Plantation. I left the fridge and stove plugged in of course, and there will always be some EMF emanating from house wiring and sockets as long as your utilities are connected, but still, I reduced the magnetic fields considerably by unplugging everything else except my laptop, making it the only artificial light source in the entire house. Every other room was lit by candles. (If I had a fancy hand-held candleabra, I wouldn't even need 'em in every room - I could just carry the candleabra around from room to room as needed, just like in the old horror movies.)

As expected, I feel great. I sleep better. I actually feel refreshed when I get up, rather than feeling like death warmed over and forcing myself to crawl to the kitchen to put on the morning coffee to kick-start my nervous system into compliance. I think clearer, have more energy for walking and exercise, get more work done during the day, and I think I've lost a little weight too. No wonder Abe Lincoln was such a slim fellow.

I'm not likely to call LG&E and ask them to disconnect me from the grid anytime soon (although I dearly wish I could, and switch to a supplier of sustainable alternative energy sources), but there's no doubt my next bill will be a fraction of what it usually is. Try swearing off artificial lighting yourself for just a night or two, and see what happens in your own life.

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