My reflections on visiting the temple of the subway made me think about the value of intermittent connectivity.
Discussions focusing on intentional living are replete with tips on how to embrace intermittent disconnectivity. Don't check your phone when you wake up. Leave the house with your phone in it. Experiment with digital sabbaths.
Here's an idea: Maybe we should bounce between small periods of connectivity as opposed to finding the times to disconnect. If we change the defaults from connectivity to fruitful solitude, perhaps we will be mindful of and find more value in the moments where we plug into the network. For example, I greatly enjoy those times when I can disconnect, read, reflect, and write. However, like Thoreau, I ought to return from Walden, rejoin my communities, share what I'm thinking about, and get inspiration from others.
A default of disconnectivity might play out in interesting ways on the scale of days, weeks, and months and could potentially alleviate the tension between creating and sharing. At the same time, we can dive deeper into presence, both personally and professionally, when things are switched off knowing that connectivity will, like on the subway, come at the next stop (if we need it).
Now, excuse me for a little bit. I'll see you at the next stop.
See also Disconnect; "Don’t Take Breaks from Distraction. Instead Take Breaks from Focus" in Cal Newport's book Deep Work (beginning at p. 159).