The reason that I started studying literature, or books in general, as a young man was simply because that’s just what you did under my parents’ roof.
Now as an adult I read because reading is the fastest way to make marked changes in my life and my understanding of life. It is as necessary to read as it is to go to the gym, go to work, and spend time with my family.
So why do I read mostly non-fiction? Because that’s where the good stuff is.
Okay so you don’t like non-fiction, I get it. It doesn’t have the usual plot and character development you want out of a book. Would you reconsider non-fiction if I told you something that would blow your mind? Of course you would.
You are the character that develops when you read non-fiction, and as you read the plot of your life thickens in light of new information.
Don’t believe me? Ask your self this, when the character of book is faced with some incredible insight, like they cracked open the mystery of the bad guy or whatever, does the story just stop there? No. They go on to take that information and turn it into something useful, like saving the world.
So what I am saying is, your life is in peril. You need to crack open the mystery. You are the only one who can and no one can do it for you. So where to start? Try this here, or here, or maybe even this here.
It must have been ten years or more since the last time I stepped into a baseball stadium. Probably two decades, now that I really think of it. My family never made things like professional sports a part of our growing up, and so in my time being an adult I haven’t really made it a priority either.
Samuel Morse Quoting Numbers 23:23 “What hath God wrought?”
In many ways, how Newport ended his book is an apt way to do so. Yes, the all too poignant words of Samuel Morse, inventor of the telegraph and the morse code, as he demonstrated the telegraph to the United States Supreme Court, are maddeningly accurate now staring down the end of the first quarter of the 21st century: WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT?
For those of you who don’t know, I have read Cal’s work before. This, Digital Minimalism, is my second report on Cal’s work. I’ll admit that finishing this book has been as transformative as it comes when taken into light of the plague that has infected our species. No, I’m not talking about The Mind Virus of Pornography. I’m talking about connectivity.
I noticed something in the LaGuardia Airport Terminal on my way home from a recent vacation to the Liberty States: New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Delaware. It only took a brief glance waiting in the terminal to see how sick our species has become since the advent of the smart phone in 2007. Sick with what you ask? Sick with distraction. In a very short time, these devices, powered with social media apps of today and the moneys being pumped into our attention economy, have entirely robbed our species of our most precious resources: our time, attention and care for others.
Take a thirty-day break
Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism
If you don’t believe me, then take up a challenge proposed by Cal Newport: “Take A Thirty-Day Break“
Now if this sounds obscene or impossible to you, consider that you may very well need to take a deep and difficult look at the relationship you have with your devices. If you are anything like me, then you will see this thirty day challenge as the reason you have been waiting for to get out. And shoot, you might even stop everything (including enjoying this post) and take on the challenge right now.
This is not a detox. I told you that from the get go. A detox implies that you will go back to doing what makes you sick. This is a transformation. You will never be the same after you have re-assessed your relationship with your devices. And if this is your first DTR (determining the relationship), you are likely in for a real awaking. But don’t worry, Digital Minimalism will equip you with the foundations and practices you will need to over come the challenge (literally, those are parts one and two of his book).
I am sure what you will likely find in those thirty days, just as I have, are things that you have missed that you weren’t even aware of. How about the joys of solitude? Or what about the power of face-to-face conversation, with someone you care about? And what about the rewarding experience of taking part in your community; a real, in-the-flesh, community of people who share common values with you? If you are scoffing here that you can get all that from airplane mode, messaging a friend, or posting to one of your preferred groups… you are probably sick.
“Turn on, tune in, drop out”
If you don’t understand what I mean by sick, and you don’t understand what sickness I am talking about, than you most certainly can not be a part of the cure.
If this is your first time hearing this, then may it awaken you to the truth of what is going on all around us every moment…
Are you ready?
Here it is…
The all-consuming, attention-whoring, power of modern connectivity fueled by social media, general purpose mobile computing machines, and the trillions of dollars that tech giants have invested to keep you “turn[ed] on, tune[ed] in, drop[ped] out” of your life are what are currentlyholding you back and keeping you sick.
Undo what man hath wrought
Alixander Court referencing Digital Minimalism
To be free of the attention sickness, and to reclaim your life from the unintended slavery that the digital era has imposed on us as a species – power off your screens, go get Digital Minimalism at a book store near you, and undue what man hath wrought.
I’d love to know your comments below about what think about what man hath wrought.