And Technology Was Supposed to Set Us Free?
How the Smartphone Killed the Three-Day Weekend
There's a long list of horribles associated with our new, always-on-digital lives: You are dumber. You are more stressed. You are losing sleep, and more depressed. We're desperate for a solution yet not confident enough to demand it. This 2013 excerpt is from NBC News, May 24.
by Bob SullivanThe average smartphone user checks his or her device 150 times per day, or about once every six minutes. Meanwhile, government data from 2011 says 35 percent of us work on weekends, and those who do average five hours of labor, often without compensation.
People seem to know they need tech breaks, which have plenty of cute names now, like "Digital Detox" or "Tech Sabbath." Consumers pay for software like "Freedom," which cuts their computers off the Net for a pre-set amount of time (really, you could just unplug yours). Reboot even sponsors a National Day of Unplugging, which will occur in March next year.
Itís easy to blame the economy. Workers competing for too few jobs feel like they can't say no to their boss, even if it's a trivial request during a long weekend. Itís equally easy to blame gadgets, particularly smartphones, which have virtually tethered employees to their desks. It took labor unions 100 years to fight for nights and weekends off, some say, while smartphones took them away in about three years.
Besides driving each other crazy, we are also robbing our brains of critical downtime that encourages creative thinking when we skip weekends and vacations. At extreme levels of exhaustion, rest-deprived brains experience memory loss and hallucinations. But without regular rest, brains fail at more basic tasks. New experiences fail to become long-term memories unless brains have downtime for review.
People who work 50 or 60 hours rarely get more done than people who work 40 hours.
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JJS: People think all their income must come from their labor. Thatís their big mistake. Itís a mistake the rich donít make. The rich quite happily take from the commons, take profits from disadvantaged workers, take handouts from government, and think nothing about it, or, rather, think they deserve such largesse. Well, actually, they do deserve some of that, but no more than anyone else. All members of society are entitled to an equitable share of the worth of Mother Earth. As soon as a critical mass understands that, and demands that, then we can all live a life thatís relaxed and happy and useful.
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the ďLand RightsĒ course, click here .
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