Stay Unpluggable

too much tech

“They say I’m crazy, but it takes all my time.”  — Joe Walsh

For the whole song =====>

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I use and generally like using technology. I think that students can get access to content for research and study.  Heck, I email and upload and blog and text and play games and network with the best of ’em. But lately I have been seeing students and faculty members completely disconnected from the place they are in because they are in the middle of a message or Words with Friends or whatever.

There is a state of being though that results in being completely unplugged.  This state once was a bit easier to reach.  One could sit with a book or a journal or a sketch pad in order to create, think, plan or meditate.  While I know that these things are all still possible and people even claim they can do this with their tech, but I have to say that the mere digital clutter with which we typically surround ourselves creates enough interior noise that it is nearly impossible to shut off. That noise seems to keep a low-boil of stress because it reminds us of what we need to do or who needs dealing with who isn’t near us right now and we end up ignoring the real people and experiences (learning and otherwise) that are in front of us.

off switch

I am going to encourage all of you reading this blog to exercise the off-switch on your technology from time to time. There are lots of ways to do it.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Short time-frame:

  1. Switch your phone off. Push away from your desk.  Take the headphones off and go for a walk in in a park or in the woods. Resist the urge to turn it back on.
  2. Go to the bathroom WITHOUT your phone. I know that sounds weird, but some of you know that it has been a while since you have been alone with your thoughts in the privy.
  3. Make dinner for a friend without having the phone or computer or TV on. Have everyone agree to “switch off” during dinner. Sit through a meal with that person (or group) and talk or sit in silence.
  4. Sit in a room with the lights off. Make sure you are not hungry or sleepy and just sit for 15 or 30 minutes with nothing but your thoughts.
  5. Attend a religious service. like vespers, that uses no technology for worship.

Longer time-frame:

  1. Take a hiking or canoe trip. Go with the intention of leaving your technology off. Cook your own food and plan your days according to a paper map and the weather conditions around you.  (If you have never done this before, maybe you should try it with a professional or a group with a guide).
  2. Spend a few days in a hermitage. Hermits usually don’t have a good reputation in our culture, but throughout time, different cultures and religions have created physical spaces without a lot of stimulation to increase the ability to contemplate. They do exist in these modern times and can be the thing to help you readjust to the pressures of your life simply by taking away stimulation, noise and the calls for your attention.

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