Silence and Solitude

Right, so I haven’t made an effort to sit down for two days to write. As usual I can’t shut my brain up, so I’ve been doing some thinking anyway.

Granted, Friday night I was way too tired to do any writing anyway, which is not how it should be at all. Especially when it’s sheer exhaustion and not this “work accomplished” good feeling of tiredness.

Yesterday I went to a cafe and sat there reading and thinking and watching people.

I wrote a while ago on how important it is for us to unplug every now and then. There’s such a thing as information overload, and I’ve since read some articles on how our brain function and our thinking has been influenced by the constant connection to the internet.

This affects all of us, who spend a lot of time on a computer and on the internet and who have a smart phone they use for everything but making calls. How many times a day do you check your phone for messages and new emails? Do you jump from website to website checking out whatever there is to check out, even when you’re not particularly interested in the site or the subject?

The worst part is to observe this behaviour in yourself and then to have to make a conscious effort to stop it. It’s exhausting.

The theory is now that we depend way too much on the internet and its resources. We’ve all become multi-taskers without accomplishing anything, though, because our multi-tasking is shallow. The ability to concentrate on one thing at a time is vanishing. You have to do at least two or three things simultaneously or your feel as if you are wasting your time.

Sit with your laptop in front of the TV in order to watch the next episode of your favourite show, play a game on Facebook at the same time and wait for incoming mail or watch trends on Twitter.

This can be observed and happens plenty. Especially in younger people.

Concentrating on one thing at a time seems out of the question. I noticed tendencies in myself to “multi-task”, but I’ve long since thrown my TV out when I noticed that I’m not watching anything currently on anyway, because I’m busy with whatever I’m doing on my laptop.

I scan a few websites daily for new content, but I don’t stray from them and don’t add new ones, because I would never stop surfing the internet otherwise. Remember? Over 13 Billion websites are out there.

But I let my brain get distracted. Too much.

It has to stop and the effort is worth it. We have to unlearn this sort of behaviour and return to actually using our brains. The flippant answer to a question you can’t answer shouldn’t be “Google it”.

It’s too easy and consequently too lazy.

I read that there were worries that we would become lazy and dumber when the book print was invented. That was in the 15th century.

And it is true that our ancestors had far better memories than we do, because they mostly couldn’t write and needed to memorize a lot, if only the stories they were told as children to pass onto their children.

I pride myself on a good memory. Alas, a lot of the info I retain is also somewhat useless. It’s trivia. But at least I don’t need to write everything down or “Google it”.

In truth? I don’t need the internet. I enjoy what I can get out of it, but I wouldn’t feel awfully deprived, if I didn’t have access anymore. Not even when it comes to watching my favourite TV shows.

I need books. I’m glad to have a laptop to write on. But pen and paper would do, too.

I went off on this tangent for a reason. This is what struck me when I sat down for a coffee yesterday. I didn’t have my laptop with me. I didn’t want to take it. I just wanted to sit and watch what happens.

Right now I’m simply writing. There’s no music, no TV, no other program running in the background. I have no idea where my phone is and I don’t care. My universe consists of the bed I’m sitting on, the laptop and my words.

We don’t spend enough time in silence and most certainly not enough time in solitude. Most people don’t seem to be able to stand being alone with their thoughts. Some people don’t seem to realize that they could be alone with their thoughts.

We’re always busy, busy, busy. Never quiet. Never alone. To a point, where some people can’t even exist outside of a relationship. They jump from partner to partner, because they hate being alone. Is your own company really that bad?

Try spending some time by yourself, get to know yourself and see what it’s like. Solitude is not a bad thing. It’s actually something one actively needs to seek these days, because it is so hard to come by.

Unplugging seems only possible, if you have a cabin in the woods; in which case you better not be fond of horror movies, because those cabins can be scary.

There’s a website called: Do nothing for two minutes.

It literally shows you a picture of the ocean, with the sound of waves and counts down for you to do nothing for two minutes. As soon as you move the mouse you fail. And isn’t it sad that we seem to need a tool like that to actually do nothing for two minutes?

I make a point of concentrating on one thing at a time. But sometimes it’s an effort. At the end of the day it is and will be better for my cognitive functions, however, and it feels oddly satisfying. Managing to concentrate on one thing at a time yields better results. I enjoy the book more, the game I played or TV show I watched and my writing is better when it is free of distractions.

I was wrong when I said that my brain can’t drown out the silence. It doesn’t need to drown it out, it needs to embrace it.


About 2clouds

I am many things, most of them I am 100%, some of them 150%, none of them just half. I write, I read, I dream, I travel. I question. And I'm always looking for answers. No dream is impossible.
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