Being constantly bombarded with information takes a toll on a person.
We live in an all too inflexible-in-its-rapidity-of-pace world, and suffer the consequences in the form of unhealthy addictions to the resultant data, info and entertainment we thirst for.
Many of us strive for an orderly world; we’re creatures of habit after all, letting our behavioral patterns guide us through daily, habitual acts: we take the same way to and from work, we arrive at mostly the same time and we do mostly the same things once we’re there. Once we’re back home at the end of the day, we do mostly the same things back there, too.
I learned to play guitar when I was a young boy, but I have put it down for years at a time occasionally, and throughout my life. Each time I picked it up again, I felt like I was revisiting an old friend. It brought a smile to my face and made me appreciate the fact we both were still around to talk to each other like old friends do.
Music is something we all need. Of all the “therapy” one can indulge in, the therapy that is music is one of the best, non-artificial chemical things we can do for our bodies and souls. I don’t know the chemicals that playing music, singing or listening to music produces in one’s brain, but I’m pretty confident they’re among the better kinds of chemicals a person can self-manufacture or experience.
Sometimes I have the benefit of just the sounds of nature when I’m writing. I think distractions can be the biggest detriment to someone wishing to write.
And whether you enjoy writing like I do, playing a musical instrument, singing or doing something creative, distractions are a buzz killer.
I have read reports of kids who play video games for days straight. I think in order to do anything for days on end, your brain produces chemicals to be able to do so. Unlike chemicals that are produced as a result of music endeavors, the chemicals produced to enable playing computer games for that length of time are addictive and destructive.
You say I have an excellent command of the obvious? Well, stay with me…
I would get sucked into surfing for hours before realizing I’d better knock it off and get some rest or I’d really be feeling lousy the next day.
Much like kids or adults who play video games for vast swaths of time, my random, unstructured, seemingly purposeless meanderings on the Internet, were feeding an addiction. For me, it was an information addiction.
If I wanted to find out about something, or how to do something, all the “how to’s” a dude could ever want were there to be found on his computer monitor. I usually wouldn’t stop until my eyes were bloodshot, getting droopy, like when you power read a book well beyond the point you’d typically fall off asleep.
What I like to do every so often is step away from information overload.
Unlike stepping away from playing the guitar (which I don’t think was ever a good thing except for making me appreciate it that much more upon picking it up again, as mentioned above), occasionally stepping away from our smart phones, our tablets, our laptops, our desktop PCs, our TVs…is a good and healthy thing.
I’m as guilty as the next person. I check my email probably more than I need to and I have my periods of texting so much I realize those communication exchanges would be better served by an actual phone call or an in-person conversation.
I also think our constantly being bombarded with data is holding us back, keeping our species from evolving to its full, truest and most altruistic potential.
One of my biggest concerns with our 24/7 connected lifestyle is our losing the ability to share in the manner in which we’ll derive all the love and healthy benefits we can from this act—Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.
Watching a video, seeing pictures, clicking on links to stories of love and compassion, while they perhaps attest to our capacity to absorb and empathize with the plight of someone in less fortunate circumstances than ourselves, is not the same as sharing your love and compassion with someone in person.
That’s the kind of 24/7 connected world I want to live in.
Occasionally taking time out, pausing to move towards love and the things we need vis-à-vis those things we think we want, in this isolated, technological outpost of a cyber-world we inhabit, means you’re forsaking shallow contentment in favor of lasting happiness.