So Goes Thoreau, So Goes The Nation

thoreau

Perhaps that headline is wishful thinking, but, the Wall Street Journal published two stories on Saturday (2!) about what Henry David Thoreau would do about all the tech distractions of today, and how it makes good sense to follow his lead (from 1845 no less).

Believe me, I see the irony in writing a blog post, that I will cross post on facebook, about the need to unplug. Here goes!

Called “Simplify Your Tech Life, Thoreau-Style,” Michael Hsu helps you power down in six easy steps. It’s worth the longer read for the detailed instructions and advice, but here they are in brief:

  1. Manage Your Facebook Friendships
  2. Stay Just Out of Touch (especially when the work day is through)
  3. Read Something Longer Than 140 Characters
  4. Ditch Your Smartphone While Driving [duh]
  5. Proactively Prevent Procrastination [for example, there are apps that will kick you off-line at the times you set like, say, bedtime]
  6. Take a Walk for the Heck of It [my favorite, along with #2]

Then, cleverly, Gary Sernovitz writes “We Are The Nine Percent,” which is the segment of the population that doesn’t own a cell phone (21 million adult Americans). For the online version, the article headline was changed to “Confessions of a Cellphone Holdout” A sample:

“For the last two decades, I have spent 83% of my waking hours enjoying the freedom of not owning a cellphone, 5% feeling smug about it, 2% in situations in which a phone would have been awfully convenient and 10% fielding incredulous questions.”

Quoting Thoreau, Sernovitz says “Our inventions ‘are but improved means to an unimproved end which it was already but too easy to arrive at;…’”

Want to find out for yourself, What Would Thoreau Do? Yes, there’s a digital collection from the Walden Library. So, download, but then get off-line to read it.

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