I’m feeling exceptionally fed up today. My desk is covered with paper, the floor is covered with paper, the book shelves have books made of paper on them and there are paper post-its all over the screen of my computer… Get it? If I have this amazing piece of kit called a computer, why am I slowly sinking into a mountain of – yes, you’ve got it – paper! All the paper and the computer are there to make me feel really busy. And if I feel busy, then I feel important, don’t I? No sitting around staring into space, doing nothing. No looking out of the window, dreaming.
And then there is my mobile phone. It buzzes and whistles at me from 7.30am. It goes on doing that until I either chuck it out the window or open it and read the messages. Once, a long time ago, we used to sit together in the kitchen, talking. Yes, drinking coffee and talking…to each other…to friends…to family… Now we start the conversation and someone’s phone buzzes, someone else hears a bleep that tells them a new email has come in, upstairs on their computer; someone else needs to send a text… We are ruled by robots!
Of course, I cannot imagine how dull life would be without all these amazing machines that connect us to the wider world, but sometimes I do miss the peace. What did I do when I wasn’t staring at a screen? How did I fill my time? I know what I did. I did ‘thinking‘. When you factor in ‘thinking’ time, life does change. We have learnt to dismiss thinking time. When my mother was a child, she would get a smack for staring into space. It used to be called day dreaming and it was not allowed in her family. It had connotations of idleness and you know who makes work for idle hands, don’t you? You had to be doing, doing, doing. You had to be seen to be productive.
So I guess we now all feel incredibly productive in front of our screens. We feel we are really achieving something when we spend time reading emails or talking to mates on Facebook, don’t we? We feel connected… But to do anything that had any real meaning, we need to take time out to think. Any creative act needs thinking time. Even those clever guys who write the computer programmes we use, need to think their ideas through, don’t they?
Stopping to allocate time for thinking appears to be a luxury today. In fact, some of us don’t even know what ‘thinking’ is, or how to do it. Our minds are muddled; full of incoherent stuff that, if we are not careful, might turn us into robots, too! Yet, we feel guilty if we enter that creative state of day dreaming too often in a day. We might be thought to be slacking by not looking frantically busy all the time.
It’s probably a good idea to make short breaks in a working day to just think; to let the brain take a good wallow in a pool of thoughts. It’s amazing what appears in your mind’s eye. I’m going to ignore all that paper and shut down the PC for a bit. There is an apple tree in the garden and I’m going to sit under it and think.