Essay Example Describing the "Unthing" Experiment

Published: 2022-07-19
Essay Example Describing the "Unthing" Experiment
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Anthropology Ethnography
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1396 words
12 min read

The world we live in today is full of challenges. These challenges are however meant to make one stronger. Some of them are natural, but there are some that human beings are the leading causes. The everyday activities that the society engage in forms an important part of their culture. According to Hughson (2008), the goods that are involved including the food items, as well as other commodities, play a vital part in the determination of culture and the livelihood of the society. Very few individuals will buy the idea that there is a direct relationship between tangible materials and culture. Regardless, the fact remains that the two have close interaction. The purpose of this project is to demonstrate that there are small things that we take for granted yet we can hardly do without them. Times are changing, and the world is embracing technology at a speedy rate. Some of us have been born when the technology is already there. I have lived with technology from day one. Electricity, television, mobile phones, and the play station. My curiosity thus leads me to experiment with life without these modern technologies.

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It was during the summer holidays meaning we were away from school. Back in school, we had been taught about experimentation to establish the relationship between cultures and the available communities. Having been brought up by able parents, I have been having my smartphone since I was a small kid. Soonest I attained the legal driving age, my dad brought in a car for me. This means that in my recent five years, I have never had to go to the bus station. I was traveling to places by myself. I even used to drive myself to school. However, my humble and playful nature could not separate me from the rest of the society. I had friends from all over, and it is very few of them who knew anything about my lifestyle and background.

One evening I came home and sat on the couch. My parents had not come back from work yet. There and then I began meditating. Many things crisscrossed my mind, but the one thing that stood out was experimenting to ascertain the hypotheses that we had learned in school. The hypotheses were that our day to day activities have a direct effect on the thinking as well as the cultures of the society (Wesch, 2009). In numerous occasions, the statement is taken for granted but I decided that I would see how it worked. That day, mum came home first. I told her about the experiment that I was about to undertake. She asked numerous questions, and eventually, dad came, and I was given a go ahead. All I wanted is the family as a whole to be aware of my intentions. First of all, we were to forego using electricity for cooking and lighting. We were to use the methods that were used traditionally in cooking, and that was firewood and charcoal. At the same time candles were to be used for lighting purposes.

Additionally, I handed my mobile phone, laptop, watch and car keys to my dad. We had an agreement that the experiment would run for not less than seven days. After all, it was a holiday, so there was all the time in the world. All that I was left with was the bicycle. I wanted to explore how those people who retire in societies that have not embraced societies live. However, my parents had to maintain their phones for they were working. I had the belief that there would be no much difference in lifestyle since I had my bike. All that I could not access were my friends. I was personate on getting the first experience and not relying on data from my parents.

Day one was fantastic. It never seemed as if any changes had happened in my life. If anything it was fun riding on my bike the whole day. However, the evening looked strange. No television, no radio and no mobile phone. It looked horrible. Whatever I thought would be a formidable experience turned out to be hell. To make matters worse, it was only the first day. I had six more days remaining. I thought of giving up and going to back to my normal lifestyle, but then that would sound absurd. How even could I approach my parents who seemed to have adapted to the system? It was hell on earth. Nights were longer than usual for the reason that I had no phone or watch. I could not tell the time. Daytime was not as hectic as the night since the movement of the sun could easily guide me. There was no form of guidance during the night and thus the confusion. I am a social media addict. During this period, I faced a very tough test. I would not be able to communicate with my friends. I had no idea on what was trending. As days went by, so did the adaptation process. By day six, I was already used to the lifestyle. Day seven came and my experimentation period was over.

The lessons that I learned from the experiment lingers in my mind to date. At least now, the words of the tutor made some sense. The process of adopting a new culture is considerably difficult. During that time, I missed my gadgets. I could not watch movies or communicate with my friends. To some point, I thought it was enslavement. The enjoyable part of the experiment is that I could sleep comfortably with fewer disruptions. With no phone or laptop, there was nothing to keep me awake. It was an excellent experience that I understood whatever our teacher meant when he said that we have to forego some things to discover others. The small things that I thought have no influence on the culture have turned out to be part of the culture (Sundaramurthy et al., 2014). Take for example the mobile phones that helps us maintain a social life. We usually take them for granted, but in a real sense, they are big players in our cultural settings.

The story of lost in transition is set up in Bulgaria and shows the difference in the behaviors of the society during the communist rule and post-communist rule. In most cases, the communist societies are associated with a dictatorship which is likely to bring about some change in the style of leadership. Eventually, it happens that the people are granted the chance, and they adopt a social form of governance. During the communist rule, the commodities ranging from land, services, food and job opportunities belonged to the community. However, the approach is very different in a socialist world. The job and the commodities belong to some few individuals in the society. However since the people in Bulgaria were against communism, they have to put up with the fact that prices of commodities as explained by Kristen (Ghodsee, 2011). The same way I saw no value in technology, the Bulgarians undervalued communism.

Towards the end of the book, there emerges some resistant movement to champion for the rights of the people and the market. This shows that human beings are quick at criticizing without having to look at the long-term effects. The situation in Bulgaria seems to worsen after they have done away with the communist rule. During my experimentation, several challenges were experienced. Connecting the two scenarios, it is justified to say that there is a direct relationship between daily activities, commodities and the culture. They influence one another in a way or the other. However, in life, it is impossible to discover new experiences without having to drop the old ways. The tiny things in our environment characterize culture thus it is good to analyze a situation before criticizing. One ought to understand the cultures to the detail and eventually, they will learn to appreciate whatever is available.


Ghodsee, K. (2011). Lost in Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life after Communism. Duke University Press.

Hughson, J. (2008). Ethnography and `Physical Culture.' Ethnography, 9(4), 421-428. doi:10.1177/1466138108096984

Sundaramurthy, S. C., McHugh, J., Ou, X. S., Rajagopalan, S. R., & Wesch, M. (2014). An Anthropological Approach to Studying CSIRTs. IEEE Security & Privacy, 12(5), 52-60.

Wesch, M. (2009). Youtube and you: Experiences of self-awareness in the context collapse of the recording webcam. Explorations in media ecology, 8(2), 19-34.

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