Walden Zone

The 10th chapter of the Powers book, ‘Hamlet’s Blackberry: Building a good life in the digital age’, is titled ‘ The Walden Zone’. The chapter starts with a possible future where the walls of our homes are convenient big screens, then argues against  the idea of it, with the idea that our households aren’t utilitarian gadgets, but Are places of privacy and solitude. “Even if we wanted to run away physically from society, in a digital world there’s no place to go. With ubiquitous mobile connectivity, you can’t use geography to escape with he called society, because it’s everywhere”(pg.180)
The book talks about Henry David Thoreau abandoning civilization for a time,  while insisting that the new tech (the telegraph and railroad) was robbing life of its richness. He chose to live apart from society, in a small cabin the woods. “Devices meant to relieve burdens were imposing new ones, pulling people away from life’s most meaningful experiences, including the family dinner table” (pg.185).
The book claims that it’s more rewarding to connect when you know that there’s someplace to escape afterward. A Walden Zone is an area of the house where there are no screens allowed, and if you believe that it’s a good idea, then it’s easy to resist temptation (pg.191).
So many young people have failed to establish personal boundaries for when/where it’s appropriate to be on the phone. But I personally feel excluded from this discussion  because my place of work (where I spend all day every day) is a phone-free zone; no wi-fi, no internet, no phones allowed.
I think I have the opposite problem that most people do, in that I should probably be online a little more. In the rare situation that I have something share-worthy, the experience is wasted because by the time I get home I’m no longer interested in posting about it. I am unwillingly made of Inward moments.
The Walden Zone suggest that if I believe that disconnecting is a good thing, then the temptation to be online will decrease. But I think my constant disconnection has unwillingly diminished all appeal of online activity, as I begrudgingly check my personal email/online accounts only once a day (just as habitually as I check my physical snail-mail box).


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