Resistance? Hope it’s not futile

My husband has been assimilated.  It’s the Amazon Kindle Fire Collective, but it’s a collective all the same. I know this because he walks past me me in the hallway, his eyes focused on some distant point, listening to the whispered voices of millions of characters streaming through the neural implants commonly known as headphones. Resistance is, apparently, futile.

Charlie, before assimilationI’d like to find a way to curb this Borgish trend for, if I must be honest (and I must), I seem to have acquired some neural implants, too. It’s just that they’re in my hands and look like a mouse, a keyboard, and an iPad. I’m no less Borg than he. However, as an avid Star Trek fan, Charlie’s Borgness may come way too naturally to him.

Every once in a while, we actually experience a flicker of humanity and short-circuit our new neural pathways. I’m happy to report that we’ve actually slashed our cable to basic and watch TV only one night a week, if then, although the DVD is a different issue. We also halved our data plan for our phones and have stopped using them for such things.

We feed off one another, however.  If I’m engrossed in my writing, he picks up the Kindle to pass the time. When I free myself up, I look over to see him glued to the computer, so I return to my singular task. I’m not entirely sure we can remove these implants. And I suspect it will get worse as technology continues to fly higher.

I’m becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the hold these contraptions have over me even while I’m fascinated by new trends and new options. What to do?

I ran across a possible remedy for this, courtesy of one of my coaching clients. She was telling me the other day about a theory of how to allot time to all the things we need and want to do. Whatever she’d read, it suggested dividing the day into thirds. One third is for being productive – work, tasks, or personal pursuits that are productive for day-to-day living. Another is for relationships – enjoying our social connections with family and friends. The final third is for regeneration – sleep, mainly. (Oh, dear. We’re back to the Borg and their Regeneration Chambers.)

I went digging for roots and hit Utopian Socialism and the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s. That’s when deplorable working conditions and long hours prompted a call for better conditions for workers and their families. Welsh social reformer and socialist Robert Owen actually proposed the 8-hour work day.  He coined the slogan, “Eight hours labour, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest.”

So let me think about that because it’s an awfully intriguing concept. That would mean that during my social time, I wouldn’t feel compelled to accomplish work tasks. That part of my day is done.  Instead, I can sit at the dining table talking for hours and never feel guilty about not being productive, because I’m not supposed to be productive, I’m supposed to be nurturing my relationships. I think I like this train of thought. Society is so focused on accomplishing things and being so effective and efficient that I think we lose sight of what truly gives life focus and meaning: social connections.

What a drastic shift from contemporary American life where we go about our evenings doing chores and focusing on work we’ve brought home, because there wasn’t enough time during our workday to cram it all in. There’s something fundamentally wrong with a system when work constantly spills over. We’re not doing something right.

I want to try this method, although I may adapt it. Reality being what it is, a slight revision to allow an hour or two for our Borg implants is called for somewhere among those three slices of daily pie. After all, there are legitimate reasons for joining the collective. Our social networks are increasingly found online – especially far flung ones – and the Borg technology allows us to keep treasured connections alive.  But I want to draw the line at allowing it to creep into the rest of my social time (or into my regeneration time, for that matter).

In the end, as Jean Luc Picard and Seven of Nine discovered, authentic living requires connections with living, breathing creatures who challenge us, laugh with us, tell us jokes, support us, and best of all, share ideas and visions and conversation. A collective just can’t compete. So perhaps resistance isn’t futile, after all.

The line must be drawn here!  This far. No further!

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