We live in a noisy world. Leaf blowers, loud car radios, phone alerts, junk mail, LinkedIn and FaceBook notifications and endless stream of social media posts and "suggested" popups almost every time you look at a commercial web site. Remembering the time when one went to a talk and quietly listened (people didn't feel the urge to say "I 'like' that" when attending a lecture) - and that he did his best photography before he owned an iPhone - as the shadows begin to lengthen for me, Dad embraced silence to remain peaceful and centered, since I take my cues from him.
How did he escape the prison of availability? Dad turned off notifications on his phone, ended monthly financial fealty to AT&T Wireless and went prepaid sans data plan, and installed a "silence" ringtone on his phone. Silence is the default for all contacts (except the veterinarian, pet sitters, and galleries showing his work). Want to use a silent ringtone? Click here.
Photographing with black and white film allows Dad to craft traditional silver prints in a wet darkroom, and spend less time looking at screens, giving his eyes a much-needed break.
Using Tweetbot eliminates the notifications about "likes" that Twitter forces on those accessing it via the Internet or the official Twitter app. Tweetbot also lets him temporarily mute toxic posters and political ranters, and those who abuse Twitter by @ messaging him. FaceBook Demetricator doesn't prevent the popups that shout at you when logging on, so Dad spends very little time on Facebook. Setting boundaries makes surface mail or email the only way to reach us.
We don't do the news or watch TV. As Dad's friend Thorsten Overgaard says, "You turn on the television and they tell you what to think." Too many radio and TV news shows seek to create controversy. If something's true and its important enough, we'll eventually learn about it. We've learned to not fear missing out, and to experience the joy of missing out (JOMO).
Dad just said no to junk mail by getting Prohibitory Orders against junk mailers. The U.S. Supremes ruled that prohibitory orders are not limited to sexually oriented advertising: "... no one has the right to press even 'good' ideas on an unwilling recipient." (Rowan v. U.S. Post Office, 397 U.S. 728 (1970). Fill out the form, attach the junk mail, and mail it to the address on the form. Don't ask for a listing, though - that puts your address out there for more junk mail.
Reading paper books avoids the Audible app's popups about reaching whatever status (who cares?), and reduces eyestrain from computer screens. Using pen and paper to add and subtract, and a slide rule to multiply and divide instead of a calculator gives the brain a workout and avoids depending on a machine to do what we all learned in elementary school.
Instead of listening to music on an iPhone, Dad plays compact discs on his stereo system. He gets the weather from NOAA Weather Radio on a 1970's Regency Police Scanner, bought on eBay. Where do you get crystals? Click here, or search eBay.
Listening to music on a stereo system lets us enjoy better quality sound on what we already have instead of buying something we don't need. Getting weather from a police scanner harkens to back in the day while avoiding the alerts some iPhone apps force you to endure. And NOAA weather radio's computer-generated voice reminds Dad of the Talking Moose.
Dad wrote A Lucky Life on paper with his Pelikan fountain pen, and prefers handwritten letters to email.
We hope some of these ideas for avoiding digital insanity - and practicing daily meditation - help you embrace silence, and experience inner peace and the joy of missing out. Want to learn more? The Power of Off is an excellent start.
Peace, love, and all green lights. Namaste.