Post title and photo are related. Really.
Pico Iyer has an op-ed piece at the New York Times with a significant message for all of us who are plugged in. It's called The Joy of Quiet. In light of Facebook, email, web articles, and work that requires me to sit in front of an online computer... I am taking his words to heart.
The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context. “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.
I am not giving up Facebook, blogging and other Internet joys. They are useful, relevant, and too much fun. I love mind-expanding gems I find on my Facebook feed—including this article I am urging everyone to read. Plus, I can't give up work which requires me to use and mine the Web.
I will, however, take more time cultivating that ability to sit quietly alone in a room. I will allot more time for being unplugged, connected only to real live people and whatever part of Mother Earth surrounds me. My 2012 resolution duly noted.
But here's a clincher: While Pico Iyer's Joy of Quiet rings so true, so do these words from Clay Shirky.
There’s no such thing as information overload — only filter failure.
Only ten words, but so much truth. It's a quote I had picked up from a Salon interview of David Weinberger, senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He talks about how the Internet has revolutionized knowledge, and how we now have a medium that, finally, matches the breadth of human curiosity. It is a fact that is profoundly awesome, but Pico Iyer reminds us of an equally profound caveat in The Joy of Quiet.
Speaking of curiosity, it's 2012 and I still obnoxiously peddle stuff I've read. Some things will never change. And speaking of obnoxious, if this post's title and photo still don't make sense to you, you probably still haven’t read The Joy of Quiet. Click! Click!
May all our resolutions be fulfilled this 2012!