I once made at the time, an inexplicable statement that to read a printed book was far better than reading it’s electronic counterpart. When asked to explain this, I found it hard to define exactly why.
After recently listening to a podcast featuring author Nicholas Carr, he states that printed media serves to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In stark contrast to it’s electronic counterparts, the simple use of electronic devices can often subconsciously encourage more rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources.
The ethical argument is that of the industrialist, an ethic of speed and efficiency, of optimised production and consumption.
Adaptability has always been a common theme wherever ecology is concerned. What we’re witnessing is the technological age remaking us in its own image. We are becoming ever more adept at scanning and skimming, and in tow what we are losing what is our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection, attributes which I feel are integral to the human psyche and it’s health.
It can be seen to be inevitable that technology will at some stage during our lives play an important role, albeit small or large.
Living in a world where your primary sensations go as far as being delivered by our Wi-Fi connections, could we survive the disconnect to reconnect?
The question I now ask is “Can you survive the disconnect to reconnect?”
According to a recent poll conducted by Time magazine, one in four people check their mobile phone every 30 minutes, and one in five checks it every 10 minutes. The survey found that nearly one-third of 25 to 29-year-olds actually sleep with their phones! We check text and emails, and update our online status, at any hour – when we’re lying in bed or sitting at stop lights or on trains. Sometimes, we even do so when we’re on the toilet.
Ludicrous right? Yeah well, you’re probably one of those people. The fact is, so am I.
Recently I’ve noticed close friends becoming increasingly attached to their handheld devices, such as phones, ipods or tablets in a perpetual mode of playing social catch up – checking in on what everybody else is doing with their lives either in the same city or on the other side of the globe. This bad habit I find to be impersonable and completely rude, especially when we’re hanging out.
In addition to this, when home earlier this year, I found that whilst my group of friends were sitting at a restaurant almost all of them had their smart phones out “updating their statuses” or “checking in” and seemed too pre-occupied to be engaged in proper conversation.
This interests me from so many aspects. Namely, the behavioural. My job as many of you know is working with individuals who possess (like all of us), challenging behaviours. Trust me, some of the clients I have possess far better etiquette than some of my close friends when it comes to engaging in normal conversation in a social setting.
Before I attempt to delve into the deep end, let me try to explain a few things from a behavioural stand point that may provide some light on why we’ve found ourselves to become increasingly reliable on our handheld devices.
1. We’ve all become obsessed with ‘The Information’.
We all want to read every feed and follow all the right sources so we could be connected to every important event and insight as they unfolded. There is satisfaction in feeling informed, our democracy depends on it – so the more informed we are, the better we feel. Only recently when I slightly reduced my own connectivity did I realise how addicted to this information that I had become and that I did not need to sustain that constant high to live well and happily.
2. I shared too much.
I achieved overload. I averaged roughly two to three hours of connectivity, much of that was due to the upkeep of the website and social networking sites. But I spent an inordinate amount of time documenting, writing, commenting on, and sharing PMM’s articles.
3. We’re addicted to ourselves.
From the perspective of ego management, we’re all pretty dangerous. Our digital social tools feed right into that ego trap, since pretty much every piece of self-expression is accompanied by performance indicators. We can measure how many “likes” an idea has. If our posts were not received well, did we post it at the right time? Was it the day of the week? Never before have we had the ability to micromanage if you will our own rhetorical value. In addition, I found I wasted too much time reading about the over-shared, uninhabited experiences of my “friends”.
TIME TO DISCONNECT
Whilst writing this article I was well aware that my own daily routine and lifestyle was becoming increasingly reliant on “connectivity” – especially if I wished to de-stress. My constant need to plug-in and stay connected just didn’t seem right on so many levels. I’d forgotten how good it was to be out of mobile reception on Bruny Island at our family hide out during the summer months fishing, swimming, riding – doing everything but facebooking, instagramming and whatever other trouble my thumbs could get me into. My need to constantly update this page for example, my Strava riding times, Facebook, as well as checking my online Call of Duty statistics to remind me how many noobs I pwn online eventually did my head in. The spare time I had during the day could be astounding if I could just pry myself away from this addiction.
Having recently moved house in the new year, we had to get the Net hooked up. Problem? It took 4 weeks!!!
Upside. I forgot about all the ridiculous posts and how my friends are living their lives on the other-side of the world. I planted a veggie garden, read a book and more time to train and spend on hobbies I thought I didn’t have the time for. It was bliss.
MY CHALLENGE TO YOU!
So for the next week, I’ll attempt to limit, if not totally forget about my need to connect with the world outside of my own. If those people important and close to me wish to contact me, they’ll know where to find me, or at least know how.
I urge you to give it a go!
I know I’m looking forward to getting outside more and boosting my immunity, socialising more and enhancing my brain power.
Stay tuned for Part Two where I give you some hints, tips and tricks as to how to reduce your need to be connected and enjoy more of your own life!
Read This PMM article: Free Medicine: Nature
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Unplugging In A Wired World later in the New Year.
To all our readers, followers and family – PMM would like to wish you and your families a safe and happy holiday season. Spread the love.
Enlighten. Empower. Evolve.
PMM Lifestyle & Performance
AA, BA (Behavioural Sciences) University of Tasmania
MSW & Clinical Counselling Griffith University
Certified Level III/IV Trainer
ASCA Qualified Strength & Conditioning Coach
ASCA Sports Nutrition
ASCA Mentor Coach
What I’m listening to right now:
The Abstract and The Dragon – Mix Tape (Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip).
Busta Rhymes – Thank You