Monday, March 10, 2008

A break from the modern world

Can you imagine a day with no internet? No TV? No Mp3 player? No cell phone? That's what
Mark Bittman is proposed in his New York Times column that I read last week. He wrote about his decision to take a break from technology for a 24-hour time period each week. Bittman made this decision after he spent money on an airplane to check his e-mail. After feeling like there was no place left where he could escape technology, Bittman decided to remove himself from it.

He wrote: "Thus began my “secular Sabbath” — a term I found floating around on blogs — a day a week where I would be free of screens, bells and beeps. An old-fashioned day not only of rest but of relief. "

The process wasn't easy for him to completely disconnect himself from his modern world. He didn't use the internet, his cell phone, his ipod or his TV. But Bittman eventually found rewards.

"I do believe that there has to be a way to regularly impose some thoughtfulness, or at least calm, into modern life — or at least my version. Once I moved beyond the fear of being unavailable and what it might cost me, I experienced what, if I wasn’t such a skeptic, I would call a lightness of being. I felt connected to myself rather than my computer. I had time to think, and distance from normal demands. I got to stop," he wrote.

I have felt too depend on modern technology as well. The first thing I do in the morning after rolling out of bed, is to turn my laptop on. I talk on my cell phone while I drive. At work, my eyes are always on the computer screen. I am not as addicted to technology as some people, but I am at a point where my time is manipulated by it. I have a much harder time picking up a book or getting out and going for a walk than I used to. I tend to putz around on facebook. Or, I talk to friends on messenger. It's great to talk to friends through messenger, but it is not as time efficient as a phone call. I have begun to feel as if my time is being eaten up by technology and I am no longer enjoying more artistic and pure forms of information, such as books.

Actually, I have become very bored with the internet recently. Facebook isn't as thrilling as it used to be. E-mail is rarely used by my friends anymore.

So, I am going to try what Bittman is proposing and disconnect from technology for a day. I'm not sure if it's going to be a Saturday or a Sunday. But, I plan to turn off my computer and stay away from my cell phone. I am not going to be as rigid as Bittman, however, as I know I would not be successful with such tough rules. I will allow myself to watch a movie at night. And I can listen to music. I just really want to focus more of my energy and time on photography and books. I think that this freeing myself from technology will help. Also, once spring gets here, I know I won't be as tempted to spend hours on my computer.

If you would like to read Bittman's whole column, here is the link:


"We live on the brink of disaster because we do not know how to let life alone. We do not respect the living and fruitful contradictions and paradoxes of which true life is full."
--Thomas Merton

"There is no such thing as chance; and that which seems to us blind accident actually stems from the deepest source of all."
--Frederich von Schiller

No comments: