Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More on Connection

So I was thinking, yesterday, about our cultural addiction to wireless connection--the kind of connection that takes place not through actual human contact but rather through invisible, untouchable airwaves. I was wondering about the sacrifice involved: those people working their cell phones at the supermarket checkout counter, for example, were ignoring the possibility to connect with the human being in front of them, the one who was actually providing them with friendly service, in favor of a stream of digital "information" reaching them from that tiny, hand-held screen they were intent on.

I sometimes tease Ellie--well, often, really--for taking the time to go down to the bank in person and wait in that aggravating line for a teller when she could save a great deal of that time by making her deposits by mail and using the ATM. But she is quick to point out in response, a little bit tartly, that she does it this way because she would otherwise miss the human contact. She also points out, with some justice, that I spend a good deal of my time online--on the cell phone, on the computer, on the laptop--and that, consciously or not, I absent myself from whatever else is happening in the real world whilst I'm wandering off into the ether. And that, she is sure to add, includes herself.

Ouch! True enough. So I'm thinking--just thinking, mind you!--of dedicating our week-long trip to up north to a daring abstention from this addiction. I find that in fact it's a very scary proposition, and for that reason an important one to confront. To sever my "connection," if only for that single week, feels like the risk that I'll be severed forever. Suppose I make no entries on The Buddha Diaries or the still nascent Persist: The Blog? Will I forever be abandoned by all my readers? Obviously not, but that's the fear. Will the momentum that has begun to build around Persist come to an abrupt halt? Probably not, though I would have to expect it to slow down.

And what about that virtual ton of email I receive each day? There's a considerable percentage of spam, of course, and the junk mail seems to increase by the day. Gallery announcements and press releases are now done almost exclusively online, and these things occupy probably the most space in my mailbox. If I wish to keep abreast somewhat with what's happening in the art world, I need that information. Then there's a small flow of personal and business mail which has become quite essential. Yesterday--a not untypical day by any means--I received more than fifty emails, not counting those I consigned immediately to the trash. In the week I'm gone, then, I can expect to amass about 500 items of email. Some of it will be trashed before reading, but that still leaves a daunting pile of mail awaiting my return.

I'm still weighing this up, but one thing I have learned over the years is that the more an action seems frightening and unappealing, the more I stand to learn from risking it. Long-time readers of The Buddha Diaries will recall that I have had this concern in the past--and that I have always chosen, when traveling, to allow the blog to morph into a travel log. This time I'm thinking--horrors!--of taking the time off, having a real vacation, writing... nothing! As my friend Gary says, it will be good to allow time for the batteries to recharge.

As I mentioned, I'm still approaching this with a measure of caution--I guess I'm still leaving myself an out. But if you log on to The Buddha Diaries and find nothing new, please check back in after the vacation.


robin andrea said...

It would be easier for me to let the blog go than to be disconnected for a week. I don't mind not writing, but to not be able to check in, read the news, or blog-hop would be a real challenge. Something I should definitely try some time!

PeterAtLarge said...

I'm going to see just how far I can take it. Will report back in a week or so!

CHI SPHERE said...

When my dad turned 70 we agreed to count 1,000 fish and 10 eagles once or twice a year together. We did that for 18 years till he went to the happy hunting grounds.

In order to do this we traveled to very wild locations far from people in many parts or the world. During these trips I came to know him and myself in ways no other experience could have provided.

My boys and I are doing this now each year and the same revelations occur for there is nothing extraneous to cloud our vision. We can see inward and outward without static or diversion.

Peace and blessing to you and Ellie during your time with each other.