In the 1840s, Benjamin Disraeli, still a long way from being prime minister, wanted to wake people up to the plight of the British working class. The alarm he sounded wasn't delivered in a speech, a pamphlet, or an article -- but in a novel, Sybil, published in 1845. Ever since I read Sybil when I was at Cambridge, I've loved thinkers and writers who use storytelling to reach people and get us to act. And so it was that I found myself moderating a panel discussion last week with the director and two cast members of a movie that uses storytelling to wake us up to one of the biggest problems of our modern age: the effect that being "connected" to technology 24/7 is having on our ability to connect with our lives, ourselves, and the people we love. Like so many people, this is something I struggle with on a regular basis. That's why Disconnect struck a nerve.
For one (waking) hour a day, I am now electronics-free. I turn off my phone (oh the horror!), my laptop and my TV. It doesn't much matter what I do during that hour; just knowing that I have that time just for me, that no one can disturb, is relaxing in itself. To recharge, sometimes we have to unplug.