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Disconnect and detoxify: does it work for you?

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by SMT dude, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Didn't last the full week, but I did try.
    Abstained from all internet and email activity. Let the mobile phone's battery die. Pulled a handful of wires, plugs and cable thingies out of the back of the telly. Departed for three days with family, to an ancient and remote walled town, there to read, eat, drink, walk, sleep and meditate upon the profound tragic grandeur of European history.
    Back home and online now. The inbox isn't too bad - Brilliant Colleague is handling our latest recruitment spasm, or I could never have done the above - and friends and family are accustomed to neglect.
    But there is a dispiriting backlog nonetheless, with its concomitant feeling of guilt, incompetence, irresponsibility and, yeah, guilt... and even if we can make the TV work again and Chelsea whip Tottenham this evening, the new term will start in depressing fashion. Just turning on the laptop seemed to nullify all the tonic effects of the break. Returning to this madhouse beats tackling the mailbox, but the evil hour is only being postponed and made more bitter.
    Yes, I know that many others, some of them in this community, have had a much worse time recently, but as Philp Larkin once observed, 'what makes my problems different, is that they are happening to me.'
    Anyone else feel the same, specifically about the technologies that make us all such superb workers and good, kind people?
  2. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    I find it increasingly bizarre that the same people who would think one mad for proclaiming that one was voluntarily giving up on reading books or listening to music for a while think it is perfectly acceptable - in fact absolutely civilised - to give up on the electronic media with all its echoes of the worker, the mendicant about it.
    There is nothing particularly wholesome about it. I have not been without a mobile phone or internet access since I was 18 and I have no intention of ever being so again. How else would I communicate with friends and family?
    To the neo-Luddites I say, to quote Virgil:
    Procul, o procul este profani!
  3. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    A pungent perspicacious post, Karvers, and I agree that there was nothing distinguished, wholesome or productive about my recent futile spell of abstinence.
    Would only protest that there was also (for once) nothing snobbish, no spirit of Horace's 'Odi profanum vulgus, et arceo' about my post, nor am I a Luddite (far too conformist).
    It was only a vain attempt to get metaphorically as well as physically 'far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife' for a few days.
    And there is, surely, no analogy between abstaining from e-mail with its urgent importuning voices braying 24/7, and your
    Books and music are usually voluntarily chosen.
    Sure, bars and shops and even sometimes the high street itself have been contaminated by 'muzak' this many a long year - and as for books, we pedagogues must needs do some obligatory and rebarbative professional print-perusal from time to time.
    But there is still the difference that unless I have consumed an immoderate amount of Velho Aguardiente do Caralho my books and discs do not seem to leap out of the wall flagged up as 'urgent' and demanding immediate attention and interaction every time I turn on the light in the book-lined den.
  4. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    I can quite readily agree with and wholeheartedly support the desire to get away from emails and the demands of the insistent. This is, however, very easily done by logging out of the email program.
    To me there is no difference between reading from paper or reading from a screen or a kindle.
    Yet, to our English deparment...
    O tempora, O mores
    One woud think that a diktat had been issued banning poetry.
  5. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Ah, is that where your neo-Luddites sulk and scowl, Karvol?
    Shame upon them, when they could be compiling a state-of-the-art annotated interactive Kindle multimedia edition of... shall we say... 'The Magic Mountain', to make World Literature more relevant to their eager students.
    As for our own Eng.Dept., I wouldn't know - little contact with them since they exiled me to the ToK Gulag years ago, for failing to toe the Party Line. But given the current recruitment crisis, they may have to take me back...
    superanda omnis fortuna ferendo est.
  6. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Probably more a figment of my interpretation rather than anything to do with reality.
    I did suggest to the librarian that he should get rid of all the books and buy them on kindle for the school, making it easier for students and staff to get hold of the book that they want.
    He gave me a look that I deserved.
    ( In case you are wondering, he is a regular drinking and pipe-smoking companion, whose advice and bonhomie I seek out regularly, so he knew my comment was more rabble rousing than serious ).
  7. Surely rabble rousing is the most serious of activities? It's certainly mine. [​IMG]
  8. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    If I lived where you do, Mickey-Mouse-Majesty, I'd do anything rather than raise the local rabble right now...[​IMG]

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