Is this concept too foreign to survive in a 24-7 world of connectivity and information?
I fear so. The necessity of rest has turned into a luxury. Too many people think they can't escape their rushed lives -- and not just for a couple of weeks, either. A day away from
I'm pessimistic about our ability to disconnect, not just from our jobs but also from the din of incessant data. Like many, I'm bombarded and blitzed by a barrage of demands to process, to act, to filter. To do, do, do. Now, now, now. This is exhausting, a true soul-suck.
Sometimes, as I toggle between screens, I feel as if I'm suffering from brain whiplash. And when I seek respite, a niggling, corroding guilt follows: What have I missed? What should I be doing?
As a writer, I long ago discovered that it's in the unstructured moments -- shopping for groceries, weeding the flowerbed, sitting at a long stoplight -- that my best ideas rise to the surface like cream ready for butter-making. But 21st century journalism demands that I spew more, and more, and infinitely more information to the world. This, in turn, requires that I stay tuned to the constant noise of happenings. I do so mostly through social media, and though I love the promise of instant connectivity, I also recognize that this possibility has become a demanding tyrant.
In a wildly popular essay in the
No wonder I'm short-circuiting. Unfortunately, so is most everybody.
In explaining how our brains work, Levitin admonishes us to tame multitasking and increase creativity by walking in nature or listening to music, by losing ourselves in those undemanding tasks that encourage the mind-wandering mode. Daydreaming, he writes, leads to the kind of creativity that changes the world.
Is anyone listening to this? Maybe intermittently.
I suspect we've grown inured to the message, even as it's drowned out by every status update that pops into our newsfeed. We're of a society and a time that discourages daydreaming, what my mother liked to call mariposeando, an aptly descriptive Spanish word that translates into "butterflying." We live in a country notorious for shunning vacations and sabbaticals, any long form of daydreaming actually. In some industries, working nonstop is a badge of honor. Ask a lawyer, an accountant, a doctor, an analyst, a school principal -- anyone tethered to a frantic life by the invisible chain of Wi-Fi and a To-Do list.
It's time to reevaluate. On this
Lost in thought -- that's where we will find our next masterpiece.