Offline is the new luxury

Recently a Mudita Community member @kirkmahoneyphd, posted about how more & more stores are locking items in cases that can only be opened by a smartphone. This got me thinking: Most people have their smartphone with them virtually all the time, allowing them to be constantly connected to the online world. Sometimes, it seems almost like we have an obligation to be ONLINE in order to feel & be included. Like we OWE people our time and availability. And when we do practice a more technologically mindful lifestyle, it feels like we have to justify it for everyone.
These days, offline time is harder and harder to come by. It really does seem to be a luxury commodity.
Do you guys have any tips for using digital technology on YOUR terms & staying offline when you want to without feeling like you’re the one that’s not conforming to what’s expected?
I would love to hear your thoughts.

1 Like

@urszula: I often feel as if I am the one who is not conforming to what’s expected, but I am comfortable with that feeling. (“Renegade” is in the title of one of my books, and “Contrarian” is in that book’s subtitle.).

  • For using digital technology on YOUR terms: Read Cal Newport’s musings about this topic, including Deep Work.
  • For staying offline when you want to: Practice gently asking “Why?” when challenged.

“Being online” meant 10-20 years ago sitting at one’s computer; it means today having a data-connected smartphone in one’s hand. The stationary aspect of the former made it easier to go offline; the portable aspect of the latter makes this harder. Switching from a smartphone to a cellphone such as the Mudita Pure makes it easier to go offline.

1 Like

Yes, and governments are trying to implement a digital biomedical and wallet identity which would require a smartphone to go anywhere, making it impossible not to be ‘‘online’’.

There is and will be some pushback against this, but it needs to go up a notch or two. Consciously choosing not to use smartphone services and paying with cash are simple steps everybody can take.

@kirkmahoneyphd is right that the pressure to conform will only go up but as of right now I feel really good about having just the Mudita Pure and a physical wallet in my pocket. I also have a physical notebook and a pen for when I am on the go, and then I input those notes in my notes program on my desktop computer when I have the time.

2 Likes

My office has a hotel desk system that requires a smartphone to check in. I have asked multiple times about it but the consensus seems to be to expect me not to participate and work from home. Which is fine.

3 Likes

@Sid_C I have a friend whose employer moved to a hybrid work model & scaled down their desk spaces. They created an app for smartphones so the employees could reserve their desks & meeting rooms for the days they planed on being in the office. She also does not own a smartphone & complained that she was being excluded. They ended up creating a desktop/web version of the app, so that more people could participate.

3 Likes

Yeah, the entire point is to make life difficult for people who do not conform, so it’s good to keep a relaxed mindset about it and roll with the punches.

1 Like

Oh yeah, I am extremely privileged to even try this experiment. Most people in the lower classes would never be given a choice about how to use technology.

1 Like

I remember a time in the early to mid 2000s when I did not own a phone. My friends all got together and bought me a phone. I remember a change that I did not like. I became accessible to anyone. You lose a bit of freedom when that happens. I think the other thing that gets over looks in this whole disconnect from smartphone and go to dumb phone thing. If in that transition you are now on your laptop all the time then you have just transferred the problem from one device to another

3 Likes

The experience is more satisfying on a desktop though.

This is EXACTLY what irks me about the “always connected” world. It’s almost like people are entitled to your time. Like you owe them your availability.

1 Like

Yup. I came to the conclusion as well, if you need to reach me, call me. I am going to make it a point of calling people after I get a text.

3 Likes

90% of the time my phone is physically switched off when I am out, because I will be doing things or with other people so there is no need for me to have it on, unless I am expecting a call. When I pop into the local store or just grabbing a coffee in the neighbourhood my phone stays home. I sometimes also train myself to leave my phone at home when I’m just in the city, because there is at least one public phone to every block which people can call in and out of for free, and even when I leave my phone at home I never had an occasion where I needed to use a public phone. I live close enough to the city I can walk home if I choose, so no need to check the public transport timetable. If I take public transport the timetable is pasted at the stop anyway. I’m lucky I grew up in an era without internet and I can still revert back to a younger me haha. Where I grew up, there weren’t even bus timetables, they show up when they show up, sometimes that takes an hour, and you learn to be patient and always have a good book with you! (I know this makes me sound old, but I’m not actually very very old :smile: )
As someone mentioned, it’s important to keep using cash, I think the reasons are obvious.

4 Likes

Yup when you completely have your phone off you even if its a phone like the Mudita it still feels very freeing. It is nice sometimes to be alone where no one can get a hold of you. The phone sometimes feels like a weight you carry on your ankles all day long

2 Likes

This is such an interesting topic! If companies rely upon people having smartphones and certain apps to interact with their products, they are targeting a certain group of people - people who use this technology. I read the ‘terms and conditions’ of apps and if I don’t agree with them, I don’t use the app. It’s the same with products - if I don’t agree with, or a product is not suitable for me, I don’t purchase it. We are all empowered to make our own choices and to say NO to what we don’t agree with. We may be declining the use of something we would like to use, but perhaps there is a more suitable alternative - and if not, perhaps you can create your own suitable alternative? Awaken that inner creativity!

How interesting that in today’s Western societies, one can be regarded as a renegade for simply disconnecting from the internet and choosing to engage with the world in natural, mindful ways, and honouring oneself. Bring on the natural revolution!

On that note - I am now disengaging from the internet world for the next 2 days - no phone, no wifi, no internet anything… what bliss! Anyone want to join me?