Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Finding Quiet in a Loud, Busy World

The Internet is one of many distractions we have today. It is rare to see someone sitting still without taking in information through the TV or the Internet, both of which are literally and figuratively noisy.

Paradoxically, that’s part of what I like about being behind a blog. Writing, for me, is a quiet activity. It helps me tune out the rest of the noise and indulge my own thoughts. During the moments I work on Life After Web, I am wholly focused. Even though it is time spent on the Internet, it is not time spent absorbing information. Sometimes I start on paper before nearing my computer. My time is spent thinking, crafting, and sharing my own voice with the world (at least, anyone that happens to find me).

In his essay “Out There in the Middle of the Buzz,” Bill McKibben discusses the effects of technology on our society. He says, “Quiet, solitude, calm: These are no longer automatic parts of the human experience. You have to fight…hard for them,” (p. 161). Humans are losing the ability to experience the natural world around them. We are tied to cell phones, laptops, iPods, anything that keeps us “in touch.” In actuality, the drive to stay connected is isolating.

McKibben later says, “We live in the first moment when humans receive more of their information secondhand than first; instead of relying primarily on contact with nature and with each other, we rely primarily on the prechewed, on someone else’s experience,” (p. 161). Writing forces me to think about the topic at hand, decide how I feel about it, and what emotions, if any, it stirs within.

Since we are surrounded by technology, we must fight for quiet moments in new ways. While my blog still connects me to the virtual world, the act of writing for my blog keeps me grounded in my own thoughts.

McKibben, Bill. “Out There in the Middle of the Buzz.” The Wired Society. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace, 1999.


deb said...

i'm amazed at what blogging does for me as well. like you, i might be on the computer, but i'm focused and doing something i'm enjoying. it's like a weird form of meditation!

thanks for the reminder for the need for some quiet time. that's something i forget far too easily, but find myself much more balanced when i take the time to do that.

all the best!