A thought occurred to me today as I was cleaning off my desk. As I removed everything from its surface, leaving only my MacBook, a notebook, pad of paper, and pen, an urge suddenly gripped me. The urge to remove the MacBook in order to have a space that is dedicated to writing with pen and paper.
Then, this has me thinking even further, what if one were to create an electronics free zone in their home or office? A desk, a small space, a room, or even a whole floor of the home where electronic technology was not allowed? No smartphones, tablets, tv’s, computers, or radios. Books, pen and paper, board games, and other such items were not only welcome in that space but championed. How would that feel? How would that change the nature of how we use that space or our home. How would it affect our perspective, habits, or dependence on these technologies that permeate so much of our lives? An Amish space, one where only the simplest of tools are allowed and every item has purpose and is considered carefully for the work or play to be conducted there.
You see, most Amish do not shun technology out of hand. They are just really careful about how it is adopted, when it is, to what extent, and where. It is not unusual for some Amish communities to have a shared car for those longer trips that a horse and buggy can’t make. Or a shared telephone in a central place where business can be conducted with those outside of the community.
Perhaps such an approach would be useful to adopt in our lives as well. Even on a small scale it could have tremendous impact. To know there is one space we can be to escape the distraction and expectations of a world insisting we react to every bell and beep.
I don’t know the answer to these questions. I have yet to implement this myself. It is just a thought for now. In fact, I’m not sure that this particular desk is right for it. It is made for use with a computer and an imperfect height for writing. That said, I now have the inclination to find a good old writing desk, one made in a time when pen and paper were the popular technology of their day. My Amish space.