Recently I read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team Of Rivals”. I found out, amongst many other things from the book that Abraham Lincoln always tried to have time to think. He thought that it was important that he spent some of his time reflecting on what had gone on and what decisions he had to make about his future and, after he became President, about the big questions of the future of his country.
As I sit here now typing this blog entry I have made a decision about something that I feel is important to me. It follows my wife coming in and saying “are you on that computer again? It will ruin your eyes… did you know that they think overuse of the computer can cause Glaucoma?”
Well, no, I didn’t, but I had previously spent about an hour doing something that I hadn’t done for quite a long time… I just sat and thought. Indeed, this blog entry is very much the result of that thought, because I had the conversation with myself that was related to my thoughts about our society’s continuing love affair with digital media.
I am not a “back to basics” and “destroy the machines” person, far from it, as anyone who has read this blog and its many entries on the excitement and potential of web technology to transform education will know. But I am becoming increasingly aware of the fact that there is a huge amount of material out there and I could spend forever trying to work my way through it. But I need time to reflect upon it and allow myself to work out where I want to go next… in other words I need to switch it all off sometimes and then reflect upon what I have learnt.
If I do not switch it off then I will find myself continuously assaulted by ideas that I cannot process. I include in this the Twittering that I do,sometimes on my mobile phone, just in case I miss something really important.
I have to realise that I need time that is away from the “sea of information” and that there are other things that are needing my attention. The unpainted door that I never quite get around to painting, the books that I promised myself that I would tidy.
I recently received a “Tweet” from Douglas Rushkoff who has transformed himself from a new technology evangelist to someone who is questioning the pervasiveness of the technology in our lives and has joined a movement that is trying to switch off the machines for the Sabbath.
I am not, in any way, a religious person, but I do think there is a point in what Rushkoff and his fellow “switch off” people are saying about the need to create some time to think and reflect or maybe just take that long walk in the park or by the sea with the dog.
I have promised myself that I will take Lincoln’s example and try to create some time to think like I did this morning. I shall switch off the machine I am typing on now… I shall not look to see the latest Tweets or what is happening on “Facebook”.
When I do switch back on I may have a different perspective to bring to my searches or my blogs. I will probably have a more relaxed mind to take it all in and maybe some things to write about in this blog that come from that world… out there… that is outside of the cyberspace that this blog entry will swim in along with the millions of other entries that will continue to enter the sea of knowledge today.