Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

For the rest of the week, I became acutely aware of the bizarre phone habits I’d developed. I noticed that I reach for my phone every time I brush my teeth or step outside the front door of my apartment building, and that, for some pathological reason, I always check my email during the three-second window between when I insert my credit card into a chip reader at a store and when the card is accepted.

Mostly, I became aware of how profoundly uncomfortable I am with stillness. For years, I’ve used my phone every time I’ve had a spare moment in an elevator or a boring meeting. I listen to podcasts and write emails on the subway. I watch YouTube videos while folding laundry. I even use an app to pretend to meditate.

If I was going to repair my brain, I needed to practice doing nothing…

It’s an unnerving sensation, being alone with your thoughts.

~ Kevin Roose, from “Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain” in The New York Times, February 23, 2019


Photo: Smartphone by Fernando Assumpcao

Comments

  1. A universal addiction!! And so true how easy we all get caught in the trance. 😳 But once you taste stillness, you just become hungry for so much more!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I don’t know, your last two posts make me sad… LIFE should be so much more.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. our phones have trained us and now have the power. time for us to take it back.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “If I was going to repair my brain…” This clause stopped me cold, as I really do believe we are doing harm to our minds and our capacity to concentrate, sit quietly, converse, etc. with the rampant use of smart phones. At the end of the day, I fear they have taken far more than they have given…..

    Liked by 7 people

  5. I have so much repair work to do on my brain, but thankfully the phone is no longer on the emergency repair list. Stepping away from the false sense of importance which is infused by work (no derision intended, for I was so swept up in a skewed sense of urgency and import, it took me two years to adjust to the reality that I matter very little to most). We look at screens more than we look at each other – and for that alone, it is worth putting them down.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    I can so relate … ‘If I was going to repair my brain, I needed to practice doing nothing … It’s an unnerving sensation, being alone with your thoughts.’ … Kevin Roose, from “Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain” in The New York Times, February 23, 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. For the first time ever, I saw not one but two people (both guys around 40 years old, sitting in different pews and unaware of each other) pull out their phones during Mass yesterday afternoon. Did they each have a family emergency they were checking on? I almost hope so, because I’d hate that much to think we can no longer put our phones down for an hour even for God!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I traveled that road, but learned to enjoy the woods and the sand. A little silence, a little stimulation…think I’ll live longer in the middle.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Reblogged this on Views from the Edge and commented:
    David Kanigan’s Monday Morning Wake-Up Call popped up this morning while pondering a reference to Jacques Ellul’s “meditation on inutility” cited in a footnote of Walter Brueggemann’s The Psalms and the Life of Faith. The sentence which leads the reader to the Ellul footnote is “In the end — not before, but in the end — praise is a useless act.”

    Thank you, David the this latest medition on inutility.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You asked me earlier to share what addictions I have and I said I don’t really have an addictive personality. I lied. Or at least, after reading this, I realize I lied.
    My damn phone (no, not an iPhone but a Samsung 😉 ) is a serious problem with me. There is no bigger panic I feel then when I realize I have forgotten it. Honestly. I need to repair my brain, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Before once a day snail mail became the norm for the USPO, mail was actually delivered multiple times per day. In a way we are harking back to that desire to be in constant contact with our loved ones etal. Once we became a more modern mobile culture we became geographically disconnected thus mail was invented to deal with our loss of connectedness. Actually literacy was the activity that was an attempt to disconnect from too much togetherness. According to Marshall Mcluhan reading is a privatizing activity whereas watching the cool medium of TV is a communal action as families watch programming together in a lighted room while they multitask. Movies, a hot medium, are a privatizing process as we watch quietly together in a darkened room according to Mcluhan. So what? As capitalism colonizes our minds to further commodify our social reality we seem to be compensating, as a colonized people will do, to maintain a sense of independence through the use of social media. This obsession with instantaneous email delivery can be categorized as a pathological response by humans to Wall Street’s loss of any more land on the planet to occupy. Is this capital’s desperate attempt to preserve “empire” & we are the victims of the last stage of capitalism, i.e., imperialism? Imperialism needs to occupy cyberspace to survive. Whether Bill Gates knows it or not his recent alert to us to be beware of A.I.’s dark side is really about A.I. being the ultimate takeover by capital.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. just this morning my youngest sister (who was all excited about her dusting of snow & only a few months ago upgrade her cell) said you need to upgrade your phones…I said I don’t like using my cell and don’t like to text well if you upgrade you can talk and it will auto text and it only costs $$ amt a month – no thanks/// I was reading a similar article a day or two ago the guy checked his cell 101 times a day…We high stepped through a foot of snow this morning to go look at the creek…we are waiting for the power to go out –and it will the lights are flickering, trees are snapping and it still snows…the interstate is closed and so many state hwys…we are an island… the beauty & quite stillness is breathtaking…even though the household had to get up twice in the night for patio coverage snow removal…our household runs on all electric…just the way it is and we do not take it for-granted.///last night our daughter said what movies should I download so we have something to do when the power goes out…we said nothing – what – we are fine without tv and electronics…we can read, talk, listen to the radio -her reply well what about when it is dark you’ll hold a flashlight over a book? yup we have headlamps…we are serviced by a Rural Electric Co-op and even though they have improved service over time this is overwhelming for them…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Does this mean you’re going to try to change your techno-habits?

    Liked by 2 people

  14. There was a time when we left our house no one could reach us till we returned home, now we have a phone with us pretty much 24/7

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Who remembers this:” This is the story of how a desert icon became, against all odds, a point of convergence for the masses, bridging the Gap between the Real and Digital Worlds”. so worth the read… https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/mojave-phone-booth
    We were visiting family in Palm Springs long ago -so we called and they said oh, you are too local..(to the phone booth) so we called back someone answered we said where we really lived and then they got chatty! Somewhere rather recently we said look there’s a pay phone!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The plague of our day. Put the devices away for moment. Look up from the screen. You’re missing life and all it wonders. We’ve lost our zest for life because we spend too much time with the lifeless.
    -Alan

    Liked by 4 people

  17. A sad and lonely testament about our times.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Awareness is the first step towards change …. wishing us all more balance in our lives, without apps.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m a little behind in my WP Reader the last couple of days, so as usual I am “late to the party” when it comes to reading any of the posts from the blogs I follow. Interestingly enough, the post I read prior to this post of yours, Dave, was about new phobias that the writer was making mention of . Did you know that there is a phobia known as “nomophobia?”

    “Nomophobia is the irrational fear of being without your mobile device or being unable to use your mobile phone for some reason, such as the absence of a signal or running out of minutes or battery.”

    https://mashable.com/2014/08/02/tech-phobias/#8qpUs2IKqsqi

    And I also discovered that “phobophobia” is the fear of phobia(s) and, more specifically, of the internal sensations associated with that phobia and anxiety. What’s our world coming to anyway? This makes me very, very triskaidekaphobic …

    Liked by 1 person

  20. How wonderful that Kevin Roose self-examined his so infinitesimal habits before they moved further into his oblivion that he can now begin to inhabit his own body and mind!

    Liked by 1 person

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