This is the paradoxical thing about channeling your connectivity to the whole world through a single device in your pocket: as easily as you can be “always on,” you can equally choose to be “fully off.”
An “always on” culture affords us the opportunity to disconnect in deeply rejuvenating ways. Never before have we been so crazed by the speed of communication — but never before have we had the opportunity to turn it all off with a single button. “Fully off” is instant, immediate, and full escape.
Perhaps one of the biggest advancements technology can make in our lives comes when we realize the power of simply turning it off for a while. Perhaps one it’s greatest potentials is the expansive, whole, endless space it gives us when we unplug. Perhaps what it does when it is off is equally as miraculous as at it does when it is on. The power that the smartphone gives us to connect to everything is matched only by its power to let us disconnect from everything…whenever we choose.
Increasingly I am finding myself powering the phone down when I get home from work. Not “silent mode.” Not “airplane mode.” Off. Disconnected.
It reminds me of “taking the phone off the hook,” like they did in those good ‘ol landline days… except now it’s like taking the whole world off the hook.
Do you ever hear people bemoan the nonstop pace of our technology-fueled race through life? “With all these mobile gadgets, it’s like we’re ‘always on,’ all the time,” is an frequent sentiment indeed. There is obviously some truth here: the common assumption a few mere decades ago was that technology would lead to an unparalleled increase in leisure time; but instead of getting home from work earlier, more of us are reading emails from the boss at home — and later and later. Why we are all not simply working 20-hour weeks and part-time jobs would surely baffle a brain in the 1950’s if they were given a crystal ball vision of the technology we have at our finger tips today. But, alas, our penchant for productivity happily continues to grow along the same curve, increasing at identically the same rate as the speed of our technology… which implies that the better our technology becomes, the more difficult it will be to tune it out.
Or will it?
What if your smartphone is already a source of peaceful, quiet discovery? What if all you had to do was turn it off? It’s like magic.