I left my phone for a week and found out why technology is the enemy of solitude

There is a famous line from Michael Corleone in Godfather III when he tried to free his family name from guilt.

Anyone who’s ever tried to go a day — or just a few hours — without their iPhone usually ends up saying something similar.

iPhones will always find a way to pull you back in. The faintest reminders from sites you thought you silenced years ago, the tedious GIF messages you’ve seen a thousand times (and more on this one).

Nor is the irony lost on me that I am relaying this experience to you via my iPhone – the source of my anger on occasion.

But shouldn’t we all put in more effort to isolate ourselves from the phone? How will the time spent without a single text message, phone call, or online prompt intended to cause mental annoyance affect us?

For all the positive and personal revelations arising out of the COVID lockdown, sadly, a break from technology was not one of them. In fact, we became more dependent on iPhones as a means of seeing life from the outside.

One has to question whether the multi-layered emotions the human mind is said to absorb when it comes to being good for us online.

In just a few seconds of scrolling, we experience content that is swift and deeply shocking, disturbing, humorous and exhilarating.

Calculate this by the number of hours per day over several weeks, months and years and the impact should be severe.

I don’t have any scientific evidence to say with certainty that this is an unusual risk, but I’ll bet it’s not far from it.

One recent week at work I decided to challenge this mind-numbing intrusion once and for all. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind in turning off my iPhone to finally see if I can go where no man has gone before.

I thought that simple times life was beyond reach nowadays; The golden age before ringtones and reminders colonized every inch of our space.

It’s not easy to leave the phone when your job is up to it. And yet this is the nub: We can all come up with an excuse why we desperately need to switch our iPhones on 24/7 (us 0. tech companies 1).

I mentally build myself up in the days before my mission (that’s what I’m calling it). Like those final, nervous seconds before the bungee jump, I eventually – if reluctantly – let go.

My first time-machine experience doesn’t take much time. On Monday morning I try to figure out who Carey drew in the All-Ireland quarterfinals.

First, my brain – now in addiction mode – tries to convince me that a simple text message won’t do any harm. Maybe it won’t.

I know if I turn on my phone I run the risk of being kicked back in. I refuse and decide to wait for the next radio news bulletin. ‘How is this the 1980s?’ I think to myself.

This is the life I have chosen – complete abstinence and isolation from the global media frenzy. I was now on the margins of society.

2 for 1 offer reminders in reading glasses gone; Hints at Sky’s latest blockbuster, and some musician named Bartess Strange, whose album, I’m told, will interest me—probably from the moment I pressed ‘accept all cookies’ without reading the small print.

Have you ever felt that a multi-generational data hold on your life is accumulating?

The first test is passed. I feel fine. A little shocked, but okay.

The more you detach from technology, the more you feel in control of time. This is not an attempt to sound clever or reveal an existential experience of which I know nothing. But things started to slow down in a positive way.

Within a few hours of my experimentation I managed to create what feels like 2008 – a time when technology lurked in the background but hadn’t yet fully caught on. Moving backwards involves a lot of forward thinking.

Kidding aside, too much technology is a problem. It’s remarkable how quickly it takes to be reminded. We sometimes forget – or overlook – that ‘scrolling’ is now a fully formed bodily action, such as breathing, only more excessive.

Before my experiment I give strict instructions to family members that I should be contacted only in case of emergency.

By the third day, I ask my wife if there has been any talk from the house. You would think that technology is backing down against my decision to leave the phone aside.

Cultural anthropologist Natasha Dow Schul calls this the ‘machine zone’ syndrome. An entered state due to excessive screen observation.

Schüll informs that depending on how engrossed we are in our screens, even mild pain symptoms may go undetected.

Another nod to old world values ​​comes at night when I turn on news and current affairs programs.

You come to them without any opinion. Without a phone to scroll through, you basically have no clue what’s going on.

At first, you think you are behind the curve but soon discover that you are actually ahead. Being oblivious to the sensation of keyboard experts on Twitter and Facebook means that by the time you reach the news, your thoughts remain unchanged. Definitely a pure kind of distillation.

Reading and exercising are my main beneficiaries of this technique. Long walks create a kind of spirituality without feeling the need to take pictures, videos or check messages.

Technology is the enemy of solitude. Every time we leave our phones we inadvertently harass some seismic, unseen global behemoth in an effort to spread advertising and cheap promises of connectivity like it does when it really matters. keeps.

Walking Out – minus the earphones – gets you to your rightful place in the universe: a mere module and component of something bigger and more valuable.

This all sounds like nonsense to the iPhone gurus of the 21st century. But for me, it’s a rediscovery of something I once knew but the idea had disappeared.

Before now I didn’t have to switch off my phone to notice nature. However, I realize that technology has sold us its snake oil—a dishonest claim that isolation and solitude contrasts with the world as it should be. Don’t believe it for a moment.

By the later stages of the week, the absence of an iPhone becomes easy to take for granted. I set aside time to read, happy in the knowledge that I won’t be interrupted.

Imani Perry’s ‘South America’ Takes me through the southern states of America, with all their cultural differences and specialties.

Claire Keegan ‘Little things like this’‘ is a novel reminiscent of the absurdity of Magdalene Laundry in Wexford in 1985.

Next is Brendan Kenny In search of madness: A psychiatrist’s journey through the history of mental illness.,

What I’m getting at here is simple: Would it take me that much time to complete three books if I were connected to my iPhone? The answer is a resounding no.

On the sixth day I go to a coffee shop. This is where the mask of technology really slips. At the next table a couple tucks their heads into the phone. No conversation, no eye contact, just endless scrolling.

Mother and daughter are sitting on the way. Mom sips coffee and stares out the window. The girl’s gaze is fixed on her phone. No conversation, no eye contact, just endless scrolling.

Phones are functional and important when needed. Why we need to scroll endlessly in search of information of little value remains a psychological puzzle waiting to be solved.

Phone companies tell us through flashy ads that we’ve never been more connected. Raw evidence tells a different story. Often, a tech company’s interpretation of mass connectivity equates to an illusion.

By Sunday evening it was time to share the two worlds again; Time to let my iPhone’s intrusion back inside the circle of solitude I’ve created.

After turning on my phone, the pinging noise lasted a full five minutes: message after message, notification after notification, making me notice myself like an energetic dog.

When I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!