Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home: that wilderness is a necessity.
-- John Muir
Over the years, I have thought a lot about the fact that few people get the opportunity I do to just sit and listen to a forest. Right now, I'm writing this on my laptop, which along with me, my husband, and four dogs is sitting out on our screened-in back deck. The only thing I can hear is the wind rustling the leaves of the aspens and the sounds of birds twittering.
It's sort of sad that part of my brain now associates the word "twitter" not with birds, but with the social media site. To me, Twitter is a prime example of the type of ambient "noise" most people would be better off without. I don't log onto Twitter, but I do have a Facebook account, so I see second-hand "tweets" through it. Almost every day I'm bombarded with invitations to teleseminars about how I can make more money if I just "tweet" 39 times a day to let all my fans and followers know what I'm up to.
Maybe it's just my Luddite tendencies coming to the fore again. Or maybe I'm just a hermit, but I'm not interested in reading snippets of people's lives in 160 character chunks 79 times per day. I tend to think that overexposure to media, the Internet, text messaging, cell phones and always-on everything are causing people to lose their connection with things that are actually real. On the Fourth of July, a number of news articles pointed out that America isn't too happy on its birthday. The economy stinks, gas costs $4 per gallon, and foreclosures are looming. Clearly a lot of people are "tired and nerve-shaken."
I'd like to suggest that spending your days listening to some Internet marketer "tweeting" about the latest and greatest hype-filled teleseminar is not reality. Instead of lamenting $4 gas, maybe it's time to consider taking steps to simplify your life. Leave your office and turn off the cell phone. Find a forest or an empty beach and sit down. Just listen to the silence and let nature work its magic on you.
Computers are wonderful tools. You can do more work in less time. But it's important to know when to turn your computer (and all the rest of your technology) off. If the trappings of "over-civilization" are making you miserable, take the time to consider why. Maybe all these distractions are taking you away from things you enjoy and that are truly important to you.
If you take the time to ponder what has meaning in your life, I wager you'll find that slavishly following other people's "tweets" isn't one of them.
Editor, Computor Companion