February 16th, 2014
Rebecca Solnit on Our Distracted Existence

“Our lives are a constant swirl of information, of emails that can be checked on phones, and phones that are checked in theatres and bedrooms, for texts and news that stream in constantly. There is so much information that our ability to focus on any piece of it is interrupted by other information, so that we bathe in information but hardly absorb or analyse it. Data are interrupted by other data before we’ve thought about the first round, and contemplating three streams of data at once may be a way to think about none of them.

Nearly everyone I know feels that some quality of concentration they once possessed has been destroyed. Reading books has become hard; the mind keeps wanting to shift from whatever it is paying attention to to pay attention to something else. A restlessness has seized hold of many of us, a sense that we should be doing something else, no matter what we are doing, or doing at least two things at once, or going to check some other medium. It’s an anxiety about keeping up, about not being left out or getting behind.”
-Rebecca Solnit

This article is an important read.

(sent to me by Steve Lambert)

Time to shut it down.

Feb 18 2014
10:18 am
faciledecor writes:

I like your ideas, you books, you are very inspiring to me


Feb 18 2014
12:12 pm
Mirko writes:

It’s 2 days I’m reading this article and it makes me connect to other posts in your blog (How to maintain integrity, Modern status anxiety, The prison of our craniums) . The main problem Is about equilibrium on modern devices especially smartphones.:

“Those mail and newspaper deliveries punctuated the day like church bells. You read the paper over breakfast. If there were developments you heard about them on the evening news or in the next day’s paper. You listened to the news when it was broadcast, since there was no other way to hear it. A great many people relied on the same sources of news, so when they discussed current events they did it under the overarching sky of the same general reality. Time passed in fairly large units, or at least not in milliseconds and constant updates. A few hours wasn’t such a long time to go between moments of contact with your work, your people or your trivia.”

Is also true that our generation (I’m 38) is a kind of middle generation between older people “who don’t partake so much on new media” and the really young people that “swim like fish through new media”.

I’m quite lucky because I live in Italy were culture is quite different and people still meet each other in squares just for sharing life even if things are changing but just for very young people.

I’m trying to live my present as a rule and I often walk alone just for observing what is around and take some picture with my camera (without any web or phone connection except with my brain, eyes, nose, ears, tongue, hands in sense of touch) so I’m completely agree about the point of view of the article you post Keri.

I guess quality of my time means doing things one at a time and focus on it, so you’re right is time to shut it down!

Thank you so much for sharing; sharing is one of the most high quality in a person.

Feb 19 2014
3:37 pm
Mary Meyer writes:

I think the article romanticizes the past to a certain degree. Not everyone wrote letters or received them even then. But there is a desire to be close to people we love which makes us check our electronics constantly. We all have crazy schedules these days with underemployment and jobs that no longer are M-F 9-5:30.

Smart phones make what used to be awful, waiting in lines or waiting rooms bearable. ATMs make the wait easier as well. Personally I would not want to go back.

Having said that, I have tried, with mixed success, to write letters more often to friends. When I was younger I used to have penpals, I have always enjoyed writing letters. It is pleasurable to get complete thoughts and ideas down and converse in that way. I also enjoy the physical act of writing.

We simply need to decide what is missing and apply some self-discipline to it. Your blog and the article are a wonderful wake up call for that.

Feb 20 2014
3:05 pm
Julia writes:

I feel the same. I don’t have a smartphone. Sometimes I feel I would like to get one but I don’t like people around me, all the time checking if something new has appeared. Most of the time the news are no so relevant. Happily I have children that need a lot of time. I think the time I spend with them is maybe the most real and useful time I own. Thank you for being a source of inspiration and a voice of independence.

Apr 18 2014
7:00 pm
michelleski writes:

Thank you for posting this – it is exactly what I needed!

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