An op-ed piece in the New York Times by Pico Lyer explores the concept of constant connectedness and the absolute joy that can come from quiet. The article sums it up perfectly: “The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug.”
We live in a day and age when we are more connected than ever before. And to be clear, by connected I am referring to access to the Internet and email. We tote around lap tops like they’re an extension of ourselves, our phones can do almost anything from making a phone call to locating an address to telling us what the weather will be like. It’s no wonder a subset of the population is starting to wonder if it’s all just a little bit too much.
Advocates of the Digital Sabbath believe that by disconnecting from the Internet for any amount of time (usually 24-48 hours) we are fostering deeper connections with our loved ones and families. Yet some research shows that Facebook fosters connections and status updates provide emotional disclosure, which is a key feature of intimacy. I believe that the real problem revolves around overuse and not just use in general. If we were to step back and consider what we might be overusing in every day life a number of thoughts come to mind: Internet, television, cell phone, stimulants or even food. I feel that awareness is an important part of limiting use and choosing to connect with those around you rather than a physical/material items.
It’s an interesting position that we are in, yet not one that is unique. Historically, society has always suffered from overuse of “technology“. These days its computers and Internet. In 19th century England, kaleidoscopes were portrayed as a distraction that could prevent a man from seeing his girl being kissed by another [true story]. Even bicycles, cars and landline telephones were criticized for the distraction they provide and the potential implications of such distractions. What is distracting you today? Is it worth the distraction?