If memory is the problem — carrying on from yesterday’s post — it may be the solution as well — the solution, I mean, to the dis-ease with the changes in our lives and their new temptations.
(I’m setting aside — for now, to focus on now — speculations about how younger and future generations may adapt, how “singlemindedness,” as Alan Jacobs puts it, will test and/or play out for them…)
The path I see may or may not be herculean, but is certainly connected to memory. It’s the path of sabbath-keeping. Nothing particularly original about this; it’s also a current conversation. (See, for example, this at Rumblings.) But it makes sense. Taking sabbath breaks, weekly or in bigger chunks in occasional “sabbaticals,” may be motivated for some of us by memory of pre-internet days, but these will then produce fresh memories of the experience of freedom.
How sabbath-keeping in relation to internet technologies might unfold in practice will surely vary from person to person. I’ve been inspired in my own (fumbling) attempts at it by Marva J. Dawn’s Keeping the Sabbath Wholly: ceasing, resting, embracing, feasting. (I come at sabbath from a spiritual perspective, but the work-rest rhythm is important, I think, whether a person is religious or not.)
It seems significant to me that the command about the sabbath is the only one of the ten with “remember” in it. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy… We take a break, shut down, turn off, read and connect in other ways, rest.
The space in which we turned out backs on strivings technological and internet-driven will be unique. We’ll remember the day, be strengthened to come back to that place again.
In the renewed practice of an old-fashioned habit like sabbath, we may be able to keep the memory of a kind of singlemindedness alive.