Not Embracing Technology

Lately I have been noticing articles about people complaining or analyzing the effects of electronic technology in their lives.

People who look at their smart phones every few minutes. People who remain tethered to Facebook and Twitter all day. People who have all of the latest gadgets. People who have a news station blaring almost 24/7 on their TVs.

A common theme in these articles is electronic technology warping our minds. I believe technology improves our lives in many ways, but I agree with this general sentiment. The human mind cannot cope with the demand of 24/7 attention. The continual pinging and noise. The human mind needs occasional seclusion and isolation. Time to ponder. Time to wander.

Often I like to sit and think. Yet long ago I learned that sometimes I need to just sit. To not think. The demands of modern electronic technology often do not allow people to sit and think or just sit.

People are being overwhelmed by technology and the demand for attention. Reading these stories reminds me of the old proverb, “Remember to breath!”

Part of me refuses to be enslaved by technology. I prefer a less complicated life.

I have the background and education to tinker with gadgets. Yet I don’t. I'm not interested.

Without the technology that many people today take for granted, I don’t worry about data mining and tracking. I do not worry about information overload.

I do not use a smart phone or any “smart” products. When away from the house I carry a simple flip phone.

My flip phone and the home phone contain short contact lists. About a dozen numbers. I make no effort to store anything more than that.

I do not worry about losing a smart phone or having one compromised. For some people that event is devastating because of the information stored on the device. If I lost my flip phone I'd be out $20 and additional time to transfer minutes to a new phone.

I use ReminderFox to help me remember dates. I do not use anything else. No complicated calendar apps.

I have a contacts list in Thunderbird, but I rarely use the list. Almost never.

In my wallet I carry a short list of emergency phone contacts. I started that habit long before I started carrying a flip phone.

I do not worry about keeping calendars and contact lists synchronized anywhere.

I use simple text files for to-do lists. Generally, when I am away from home I don’t think about or worry much about computers.

These technologies do not tempt me, but I understand the effects. Very much. I too am susceptible to the challenges of electronic technology. Within the house seldom am I more than a few steps from a computer, most of which are on during the day, which means seldom am I far away from email. I do not receive an unmanageable amount of personal email, but I receive automated emails from my own computers and servers at work.

I enjoy tweaking my computers. I am forever updating and adjusting various scripts and configurations.

I am aware that this proximity is potentially unhealthy.

Lately I have been thinking about ways to cut the tether to the technology in my life. Or at least loosen the tether. Often a walk in the woods will help. Or mowing the lawn. Or reading an old fashioned dead tree book. In a few weeks I will be in the woods most afternoons. No electronic technology during those hours. I am hoping that time alone in the woods will help me resolve how to further control the intrusions of modern electronic technology.

The goal is simple. A less complicated life. Time to sit and think. Or just sit.

Posted: Category: Commentary Tagged: General

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