Old Fashion Summer is a #Phonelesssummer #Screenlesssummer

Old Fashioned Summer

The Beatles, Albert Einstein, plus Thomas Edison all didn’t have a certain habit during dinner? These people of achievement, and I’ll include Alexander Graham Bell, didn’t interrupt their meals by looking at their smart phones.

Having the world’s store of information and people at our fingertips could increase our creativity if used mindfully, but often it’s not. Remember when waiting for a bus or in a checkout line meant a time to think or to start a conversation. Now with a free minute we’re out of pocket and starring at our screen – as if we’re a emergency room astronaut in the middle of a critical merger and acquisition of a hostile nation that is demanding our urgent attention.

Our phones are just the beginning of artificial intelligence. With the possibility of so much promise, AI also sadly brings a massive outsourcing of our mental processes from our large brains to our tiny devices – putting our creativity and our future at risk. Let’s take a stand this summer to take back our minds.

I used to wonder why so many people were looking at telephones – endlessly waiting for a ring? Then, I got a smart phone and joined the crowd. Getting news alerts, ignoring friends, checking weather, trouble falling asleep, scanning stocks, and never having enough time. I resisted games but became occupied with the endless feeds of twitter. Freeing me to work from anywhere but finding myself at work everywhere. Tightening acquaintances across the globe but loosening local ties.

Creativity thrives through our curiosity; however, the curious are the ones most susceptible to loss. Instant answers rob us from pondering too deeply about things like whether Pluto should be considered a planet and takes away our will to dream about a future with cordless toasters.

Not enough time is the reason many give as the barrier to creativity.

Smartphones are like sponges absorbing every last drop of our downtime by continuously pushing us today’s equivalent of Gilligan’s Island.

The more we repeat something like checking our phones, the more it becomes a habit that’s hard to break. Like eating peanut M&Ms and knowing that each tiny glance adds unnecessary weight doesn’t make it any easier to stop.
We have cravings, feel hunger pains, and start to rationalize that if we don’t check our phone, a worse version of our worse case scenario will occur.

Be part of the solution by honoring other peoples right to peace afterhours. Take your finger off the send button unless it’s an emergency – and then call someone who can actually help. Set some limits you can live with. Not anything too impossibly dangerous like stepping out of your home to get the newspaper without your phone fully charged and turned on. Try carving out Internet free zones in your life – and summer is the perfect opportunity.

What does an “old fashion summer” mean to you? Boring stuff like stretches of unstructured time for dreaming up ideas, reflecting, developing real friendships, experiencing nature, listening to music, playing sports and sunburn. We used to debate whether to answer the telephone during dinner and now we’re on 24/7.

Technology gives us tools to communicate and become more productive in every aspect of our lives, in every room in our house. AI promises to take on more of our mundane tasks. While this could free more of our time, this dividend of freedom is being squandered. What we need to hold onto are the parts that allow us to be creative and make us human.

Set some limits on your technology. Leave your phone behind, before we get left behind. Give our children a technology free summer and give ourselves a vacation back to a time when we could dream.

What will you do this summer?