Wednesday, June 4, 2014

DIS-CONNECTED

We're back from Cuba!  It was a great adventure, and one that I'll be writing about at length in a travel blog that will be posted in due course.

In the meantime, I note that it was as I anticipated: no connection.  We live in such a state of connectedness these days, it was in fact something of a pleasure to be out of touch.  No telephone.  No email.  No Internet.  No television.  No newspaper...

It would, in fact, have been possible to get online.  Our hotel provided no access, except through a couple of their own computers in the lobby.  But for the price of a few CUCs (Cuban tourist currency), a walk across the street to a neighboring hotel would have allowed me to use my laptop.  I chose not to make that pilgrimage.  Our time was fully occupied with arrangements made for our group, and it would have been crazy-making to have attempted anything more.  Besides...

... there is a certain pleasure in being disconnected, no?  Remember those days?  Before the mobile telephone would ring in the middle of a pleasant dinner out?  If not yours, them someone else's.  Before the inevitable beep announcing the arrival of a text message at an inconvenient moment?  Before you felt obliged to respond to emails arriving pell-mell in your inbox?  Before you needed to know the state of the weather, or the stock market, hour by hour?  Ah, the innocence of those times, a mere... ten years ago!

I got back to my regular meditation practice this morning and my concentration was broken by the sound of a helicopter overhead.  I can't recall having heard the roar and throb of a single helicopter for that whole week in Havana.  Lots of other sounds, of course.  Plenty of city noise, particularly the engine racket of those American gas-guzzlers from the fifties for which Havana is famous.  But nothing overhead.

In all, Cuba provided a reminder that our spectacular technological progress comes at a certain cost, a part of which is the loss of intimate human connectedness and, by extension, community.  More of this, I'm sure, as I write the travel blog.

2 comments:

robin andrea said...

While we have fully embraced our laptop connectedness, we have deliberately eschewed the constancy of the smart phone. When we go outside of our dsl-wired house, we have an old cell phone that we take with us for emergency phone calls only. It's an interesting thing being out in the world without a device that keeps us constantly connected to the internet. So far, we enjoy our brief respites from endless chatter, and we get to look around and really see the world.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks for the note, Robin. It's always good to hear from you.