Solely In Black and White: Disconnect from What?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Disconnect from What?

While there has been a strong push for “disconnection” recently, that did make me wonder, why do we disconnect from others? Does anyone else question why we are disconnected to begin with? It can be argued that technology is by its nature constantly distracting. But perhaps further introspect on the subject is needed. Let’s take a recent Pew Study via USA Today as an example:

The Pew Internet and American Life Project says that 13 percent of adult mobile phone owners in the U.S. have used the old "I'm on the phone" tactic. Thirty percent among those aged 18 to 29 did that at least once in the previous 30 days.

I wonder what those numbers would look like if the study included texting and other web/data related activities. Personally, I am guilt of using my phone to ignore people on occasion. I’m not saying using a phone to ignore someone is proper, moral, or even right, but I think there is a time and place for everything. Sometimes people just don’t get social conventions or hints. In those cases, extraordinary measures are needed to deal with the situation. Granted, I am biased; my phone and I are rather close, if you catch my drift… ;-) so maybe I am not the right person to ask about this subject, but there is no way that I am the only one using this technique to avoid awkward social situations...


  1. R’Mendel of Kotzk asked a discipline of R’Moshe of Kobrin, “What was the most important to your teacher?” The student answered, “Whatever he happened to be doing at the moment”...

    We have forgotten the meaning of those simple, but yet wise words.

    I sometimes give the (girly) example of a scene from "A Walk to Remember". One of the things on her "wish list" is to be in two places at one. He takes her to a stateline where she places one foot on each side, she opens her eyes and tada, she is in two places at once. It is a very cute and romantic scene but the truth is that she is really in neither place. We cannot be in two places at once. Sometimes, in an attempt to get more done, we end forgetting what it means to live in the moment. I recently wrote about something similar to this...we are all in a race...but the question is "to where?" Where are we rushing to? Where are we racing to??

    But most importantly, I think people have disconnected from themselves...

  2. Perhaps I took a different approach with understand this project, but I hear where you’re coming from. Many people do use technology to run away from themselves, their families, or their lives. However, we as Jews have a formal disconnect every single week, it’s called Shabbos. Aside from that, this disconnect idea isn’t new, but has been around for a while under the name “National Day of Unplugging” as part of the Sabbath Manifesto. The idea presented in the video, mainly disconnecting for one hour for one day a year is somewhat pointless if one keeps Shabbos.

    Very cute reference, (great movie btw) but you are negating the fact that she was in actuality still in one place and enjoying the moment even though she wasn’t focusing on it. Just because some isn’t paying 100% attention doesn’t mean there not there at all…

    I don’t necessarily see it as a race, but a distraction. Sometimes life is boring, hard, wonderful, complicated, frustrating, delightful, and strange. People need an outlet that lets them chill. That doesn’t mean it is correct for people to use technology to completely fill that void at the expense of missing life, however, one can’t deny that distractions have their place and time. For example, after studying for hours on end most people resort to essentially wasting their time in an effort to relax. While taken out of context this time is being squandered, yet, in this situation it is a necessity. Humans always have strived for distractions throughout time; technology has just become a manifestation of that need.


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