Unplugging the Screens

I’m on vacation with my family most of this week, so the posts here will be kind of limited.

This month I read a great book that made me feel like there’s a method to my madness in avoiding having a “smart” phone, of going days without checking in while I’m traveling for pleasure, of refusing to spend the untold hours some of my friends and relatives do on Facebook every day. If you believe the premise of Hamlet’s Blackberry, (and I do), it’s all making us dumber and ultimately less creative and innovative.

How this book is different, however, is it gives us a historic perspective, through the eyes of past philosophers. This is a struggle we have faced time and again when processing new technological advances that change the way we communicate: from the written word to the printing press to the telegraph. What’s different this time is, the technology is constant—for those who get sucked into it, there is no escape—no time to be alone, to reflect, to think in a deep way instead of in shallow flickers and tweet-length phrases.

I’m going to review this in September’s issue of Perceptive Travel because it has specific relevance to how we travel and what we get out of our travels when we are in the moment and moving at Earth’s speed instead of having our minds connected to a huge network of demanding acquaintances in far-off places, our mind bouncing in 100 directions like a pinball in cyber speed.

If you haven’t fully drunk the “must…be…always…connected” Kool-aid and you want to rescue your free will and  your creative schedule, I would highly recommend this book.

  1. Mike

    Right on!

    I wrote a post about this here:

    But here’s the relevant quote from Herman Hesse (in Steppenwolf), referring to the newfangled “radios” of the 1920s.

    “And all this, I said, just as today was the case with the beginnings of wireless, would be of no more service to man than as an escape from himself and his true aims, and a means of surrounding himself with an ever closer mesh of distractions and useless activities.”

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