In the brave world of new media, the technological jungle is full of digital snares and Facebook leeches. The clear path is hard to find. Distraction is as ubiquitous as termites in a termite mound. Advertisements wave at you like cute squirrel monkeys frolicking in the foliage that turn out to be howler monkeys in disguise. Amidst a constant din of spam and the glow of screens, finding clarity is a struggle.
I strive to find that clarity. I don’t own a cell phone. I delete chain emails and adorable kitten photos sent by well-meaning friends. In the jungle ecosystem, there are far too many links and relationships to follow, and each one that I explore has the potential to keep me from the creative pause, that realm of stillness and imagination that provides the foundation for my creativity.
Technology is an astounding tool. In my thirst for knowledge, the cloud provides. Should I forget the names of the thylakoid’s mobile electron carriers (which help shuttle electrons during photosynthesis)–well, plastoquinone and plastocyanin are only a google away. We can create and collaborate on art that, only a few years ago (unless your name is Peter Jackson) was unattainable. We can publish story, photo and video with a single click. The gatekeeper has been slain. Opportunity is vast, the virtual audience always hungry.
Tools fascinate me. I get a thrill figuring out how something works. And I love to create. Back in my gaming days (Starcraft, anyone?) I enjoyed the world editor more than the actual gameplay. A rock is a tool–use it to hammer in a nail, and try not to drop it on your foot. An iPad is a tool–or 140,000 tools, at last count–more adaptable and powerful than a rock, and infinitely more perilous, full of time-vampire apps and angry birds.
I use technology everyday, but am obsessive in my selection of techno-gadgets, twitter feeds, blogs, and e-newsletters. I try to surf with intention. I feed the machine, and get concerned when the machine starts to feed me. Moderation is key. Limit screen time, and within that framework maximize time spent with purpose.
And get outside. Beware the nature-deficit disorder. Time spent in the genuine jungle (or forest) is vital, and I purposefully get my hands dirty with leaf and earth to help cleanse away the pixel and plastic.
Thank you for sharing your story. I find it a constant struggle to be aware of what is distracting me and usually by the time I figure it out I have already lost that time and will never get it back. I myself have had bouts of 3 months no cell phone here and there but could never stick to it because it seemed I was missing out on what some of my friends were doing. In reality, I was not missing out but to get one’s mind to believe that is another animal.