For the better part of two decades I have been…
‘Men have become the tools of their tools.”
Henry David Thoreau
So I have authored eight blog posts since I stopped posting to Twitter three months ago, and pretty much gave up all social media. Those eight essays cost me me many hours and much sweat to write. But they have also been enormously gratifying to complete.
I remember hearing someone I very much admire tell my students that if they want to maximize their potential and be the best they can be, they should “turn off their cell phones and read one additional book per week.” His words hit me hard. They prompted me to reflect on how I was using my time. Teacher, teach thyself! Was I, in fact, pissing huge amounts of time away on social media? Consuming marginal information hour after hour that I didn’t really care about? Watching others rant and rave in 280 characters? Flame wars, invective, and snark? Too often wasting my precious time? The answer was, “Yes.”
So I made a conscious decision to engage much less on social media. Instead I would read more books and write more for myself. In brief, I decided to become more a creator of content, and to be less a chaser of gossip and purveyor of the opinions of others. I spent much less time passively reading discursive Twitter/Facebook postings, and much more time actively trying to understand myself and the world around me by writing prose. The amount of books I read has increased considerably. So has the writing.
This is a much more healthy intellectual diet. From passive to active.
Technology should not use us; we should use technology. We should make conscious decisions to best maximize our potential. To lead healthy lives. To enjoy contentment. To feel fulfilled. To experience that sublime feeling which comes from struggling with a difficult task, and then finally to complete it.
May I continue to try and keep this up.
What to research and read and write about next?
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