Devices are good, internet not always.
An epiphany I had recently: after spending about a year + not owning a phone with internet access, I have determined that devices are good, internet (not always).
Let me give you some insight into my thinking process.
About 2 years ago, I got overwhelmed with all this internet stuff. Too many emails to answer, too many messages to manage, etc. Thus I declared “information bankruptcy”, and I went offline from having a phone, checking email, for nearly 2 years. It was a very important “information detox” I experienced, and it has allowed me to become the most intellectually productive in my entire life. I’m less distracted by noise, which gives my mind the chance to wander, be curious again, and think deeply on subjects which interest me.
A big thing I have been pondering almost my entire life:
Are devices, phones, and the internet good for us and society?
Well, so far this is my breakthrough idea:
All things considered, devices, phones, social media, and the internet are a net-positive to ourselves as individuals and for society. However, we must undergo period “digital fasts” for our mental and our spiritual sanity.
I’m a religious practitioner of “intermittent fasting”. I generally don’t eat breakfast or lunch, and have my first meal at around 4-6pm. This has helped increase my energy, focus, and intellectual and physical productivity.
I think perhaps we should do this regularly with devices, phones, and the internet.
However you apply this is up to you. But some ideas:
- Don’t check your email everyday. Or uninstall email from your phone, and only access it on your laptop or at work.
- Regularly turn off your phone, or switch it to airplane mode at certain intervals throughout the day. For example after you come home from work, just turn off your phone.
- For certain periods in the day, turn off your wifi, or restrict your internet access. You can still use your phone as a camera or productivity device, but keep it to airplane mode. For example, I’m typing this entire essay on IA WRITER on an Android phone, and I don’t have internet access on the phone. So perhaps for myself, I like having a phone; it’s just the internet which is often a bad distraction for me.
To sum up, the simple advice I have is this:
Don’t always keep your phone turned on, or on you, or with internet access on.
Experiment: turn off your phone when you’re at dinner with friends or family. When you go for a walk, keep the phone at home. Or charge your phone in a separate room when you go to sleep. And when you have your phone with you, and you want to take photos with it, just switch it to airplane mode.
Like Neo was told in the Matrix,
“Maybe you need to disconnect every once in a while.”