After much prolonged bitching and moaning about the ubiquitous state of technology, I’m finally doing it: De-Vicing. To be clear I’m talking about a sensible digital diet, not a full-scale Luddite hunger strike. Obviously, I’m writing about this in my blog so I can’t completely rebuff tech — nor would I want to as I have a love/hate relationship with it.
I was the first of my friends to tote around a digital diary in the Naughty Nineties and wrote about QR for Wired magazine before the ugly-looking Mondrian-esque bar codes were cropping up all over town.
So my De-Vicing is to involve a simple, reasonably balanced plan to reconnect me with my creative, innovative self and creativity DOES come in a vacuum (i.e. sans constant distractions and abrasive digital assaults on one’s nervous system).
I want to return to my intuition and to really being in the present moment with my surroundings and other humans. I want to be alert to opportunity and till the soil for serendipity and the miraculous. In my mind, I’m setting a modest period of one week as a tester (so as not to dive in over my tech-addicted head).
The precursor to this De-Vicing occurred in two phases of my life — years ago when I deleted my Facebook account (never looked back, best thing I ever did); and again months ago when I decided to remove my iPhone from my bedroom during sleeping hours. After all, there’s something disturbing about the all-seeing eye of Cupertino watching over you as you slumber. This would have had a greater impact had I thought of a ‘no laptop in bed rule’ but I digress.
Day 1 of the official reasonably balanced De-Vicing:
Knowing that I was going to need to be out and about for about a four hour block largely in one location, and that I didn’t have to meet anyone at the end of that period, I left the ‘Evil i’ at home.
Certainly, there were moments when that old familiar reflex jolted me into attempting to check the phone that wasn’t there — even if just to read earlier emails in the Wi-Fi-less Underground. Most of the time when I wasn’t otherwise occupied I found myself staring into space. With no other option, I let my subsconscious have free reign.
Some interesting thoughts popped up related to issues I’d been having — no definitive solutions but ideas at least. And I definitely noted that the real world ‘up there’ seemed to pop more — in a Technicolor way — than usual. I had also made the conscious decision at some point not to listen to music (I had brought a non-phone MP3 player) so perhaps this played into the mindfullness I experienced.
Ultimately, I felt more real. I know that sounds bizarre but I am getting the sense that the world I experienced on a quotidian basis as real (constant device-checking and info-seeking) is NOT real. Of course that’s intellectually a given but seeing as this was more of an experiential, existential feeling, I’m going to see it as progress — a nice first step.
For starters, I am giving myself at least a couple of iPhone-free blocks of time during my week (when I know I won’t have to meet anyone or go way far out of my usual stomping grounds). Then we’ll see where we’re at…