The question when finishing a book like “The Shallows”, that I think to myself as much as I’m asked by friends who know I’ve read it is, “So, will you be using the internet less from now on?” I’ll admit, there are sections of the book where I imagined unplugging. Deleting my facebook, ending my blog, and canceling my chat accounts…all seemed tempting at different moments.
Just as the author, toward the end of the book, confesses to attempting. He admits to being a solitary type man, and being self-employed, has abilities to disconnect many of us couldn’t handle. Then, toward the end of the same chapter, he admits that when finishing this book was near complete, he “plugged in” once again. Even brags on his new Wi-Fi Blu-ray player that streams NetFlix and YouTube, etc.
I don’t think I’ll go into a sort of legalistic re-appraisal of my online connections. But I do think I will be more purposeful in my intellectual and creative development. I’m better familiarized with the benefits of decreasing how much of myself I rely on the “web” for, and how much of my day is unplugged. I see tremendous value in carving out specific time for words on printed pages, and want to work on the habit of using the “off” switch for my laptop’s wireless capabilities.
God has given us an amazing amount of self to create and discover, and an identity that He continues to form in our hearts, minds, and lives. There are large amounts of energy and enthusiasm to share the benefits of technology with the generations who were born before much of it existed. Teaching the elderly, and even the middle-aged how to properly navigate the world-wide web, and all of it’s various facets.
But an area we need to remember, and foster, is to share that bridge in both directions. The abilities our parents and grandparents have to focus on a single concept or idea. The imaginations bolstered and living organic memories of those who have developed them naturally, instead of clicking a search engine for the most relevant facts….should make us want to sit at their feet and listen. As we are raising tomorrow’s generations, may we continue to require not only the ability to type well and navigate, but to sit still. To dream. To listen. To write. To memorize. To create. To discuss and wrestle with a single idea or challenge. To work their way through a densely-packed, beautifully written classic novel…immersed in its’ pages that are completely void of any links or advertising to distract the mind.
Although….I’m okay if we stop teaching cursive. I still don’t get it. 🙂