“Those mail and newspaper deliveries punctuated the day like church bells. You read the paper over breakfast. If there were developments you heard about them on the evening news or in the next day’s paper. You listened to the news when it was broadcast, since there was no other way to hear it. A great many people relied on the same sources of news, so when they discussed current events they did it under the overarching sky of the same general reality. Time passed in fairly large units, or at least not in milliseconds and constant updates. A few hours wasn’t such a long time to go between moments of contact with your work, your people, or your trivia.
The bygone time had rhythm, and it had room for you to do one thing at a time; it had different parts; mornings included this, and evenings that, and a great many of us had these schedules in common. I would read the paper while listening to the radio, but I wouldn’t check my mail while updating my status while checking the news sites while talking on the phone. Phones were wired to the wall, or if they were cordless, they were still housebound. The sound quality was usually good. On them people had long, deep conversations of a sort almost unknown today, now that phones are used while driving, while shopping, while walking in front of cars against the light and into fountains. The general assumption was that when you were on the phone, that’s all you were.”
~ Rebecca Solnit, “We’re Breaking Up: Noncommunication in the Silicon Age”
The rest of the article can be found on Brain Pickings here.
Sharing this as it really hit home with what I am currently trying to balance in my life. An incredibly worthwhile read.
Our constant bombardment of various media and inability to truly detach and let ourselves exist in uninterrupted nothingness is making us, in a way…sick.
I miss letters. I miss space. I miss not having easy 24 hours access to stimulation, news, texts.
I’m rebelling a bit. It’s not easy to unplug. But it’s vital to our health, quite literally.
I’m fighting to carve out space. Turn off and tune in.