What shackles us is not the judgement of others but the perceived thought that they will judge us.
We humans, a tribal community, have lived life without instantaneous connectivity almost 99% of our time on earth (if we weren’t on other planets). The age we live in, the age of connectivity demands us of our interruption, demands us of our multitasking chops, demands us of our inattention to attention.
Almost everybody will agree in unison if I propose the idea of solitude, where you develop your own thoughts free from the interference of the world outside. It will be met with resistance first given our social life and “obligations” as we like to call it but if given a thought alone it would be given a resounding yes. But will we do it? No.
A new kind of prison we live in, where the illusion of freedom is immersive. Where we are thrust upon with so many choices that we are unaware of our need, do we even need the thing we are being provided choices for? Smartphones have become ubiquitous to us as cigarettes are to a smoking addict. We rationalise it with its positives, having the negatives swept away in a wind never to return. The first impulse in the morning we feel is now provided by the notifications on the screen and the vibration that comes with it.
The only reason we feel resistance to cut down on our technological usage is our own ego. People want to know what I’m doing. Then we read about our idols, some who restricted themselves to self-isolation in order to work deeply on a project that they deemed people needed to know. George Orwell, Carl Jung, Bill Gates and any artist or worker in your respective field.
What there is a need for is a period of solitude not that the whole life is lived like a monk, but a period of it where you only listen to yourself, where you ponder upon the experience you have had until now, where the consumption of content is thought upon, where content is created, not the short term like this article, written in 10 minutes. But a work that has its every word soaked in depth. A depth acquired by persistent thinking about the subject, reading books on it, taking the subjects on long walks with you.
What we need in this information overload of a world is a new world that we create for ourselves, a world where we set our own rules and where our ideas sprung organically not reactive but proactive. We put deadlines, we mix it in with care for our body, both mentally and physically. A life of this sort would be met with resistance from our body and mind but we have to remind ourselves of the larger goal at hand. Our connection with our spirit and our connection with our voice. A voice that is our own. For a while at least.