I used to live like this. Before 1995 I used to have my morning coffee in the living room, not in bed until noon. Sometimes I'd take my coffee out into the garden where I was forced to confront the day: weather, birds, flowers, the garden spider. I felt connected to life although I wasn't aware of what someone was doing and thinking halfway around the world.
The internet connects us to each other and often ourselves, but there's also a disconnect that takes place. We forget how to hold a pen and our penmanship suffers. We don't write newsy, entertaining letters and we don't feel the excitement that comes when a letter arrives, addressed to us from a friend we haven't heard from in a while. We don't sit and just think. Is this technical evolution entirely good for us, I wonder. Is it important for me to know, for example, that one of Ville's cats threw up a hairball on her pillow, that Mary cut her finger cleaning up a broken glass, or that someone else is having a bad hair day?
Like television in the 1950s, the internet has drawn everyone to a tiny screen. The internet is better, at least, because unlike TV, it demands mental action instead of mindless absorption. Television is passive, artfully planting ideas and desires in our subconscious. The internet creates an exchange of ideas with other people. Neither is all good or all bad, but both can be disconcertingly addictive.
So I have decided to disconnect one day a week to be "alone" without a thousand tweets, comments, status messages, replies, and emails. I will spend one full day a week alone with my thoughts. I'll journal, read, write, meditate, rake leaves, garden, water plants, cook. In a word, anything I want to do that doesn't include hundreds of other people.
Yesterday was wonderful. I watered the flowers in the front beds and pots and took pictures of things both inside and outside the house. With the stereo on, I did some things around the house and for a while I just sat in thought. Joel and I raked the leaves from the back step and the drive, talking and laughing and enjoying the perfect weather. Mostly, I just enjoyed the day and, except for the first 30 minutes of the morning, I didn't even miss the internet. In fact, when I finally signed on around 9 or so at night, I was surprised at how little had gone on in my absence. I was faced to realize that most of the time I spend online is spent looking for things to do. Silly me. There's so much to do off line!
This is the first week. We'll see what comes from it over time.