By Mihir Matalia
I love technology. To me it is one of the most fascinating things. Specially, internet and smartphones have made us all citizens of this ever-connected global digital society. This concept of connected digital society has changed our lives quite a bit. Long essays can be written on the positive and negative effects of it. In my opinion as much empowering and useful it is, there are some unintended side effects. For example, smartphone notifications are making us jump from process to process which has a definite toll. Be it information overload or constant need for being ‘connected’ increases the stress level a lot. Additionally, the constant consumption of screens has its own problems. Being in the IT field, these effects magnify for me. Talking to my brother in India about this need to disconnect, we decided to do an experiment of e-fasting. Both my brother and I are highly inspired by our grandfather Duleraibhai
Our strategy was to disconnect in a meaningful way and survive our ever-connected lifestyle. So, we decided to avoid all the electronic equipment, especially one with a screen. Different cultures have some similar practices like Sabbath, but clear intent helped us defining rules for our e-fasting experiment.
Lessons and observations
Days when I did e-fasting, it opened time for me to do some writing and self-reflection. Somehow, I found the time for some of the home maintenance/improvement projects which were never finished before. This gave me the opportunity or maybe, rather forced me to read physical books. I tried some art projects and played some musical instruments. Run some thought experiments on various topics. After a few e-fasts I observed that it reduced my stress levels quite a bit. It really felt therapeutic. It sounds weird to say but the world didn’t stop or fall apart. No one died on me. Didn’t lose a friend because of it. Most importantly it helped me realize that I am powerful enough to choose how I want to use technology that is best for me. Over the time I also learnt that some sort of consistency in deciding days to do e-fasting can be useful. Making sure the prior night to turn off all the notifications also helped. If you have an old non-smart phone available, it can also be used in case of emergency. Informing your loved ones in advance also helps as they know you are away, and they will find a way to get in touch with you in case of an emergency.
I invite you to perform such experiment and would love to know your thoughts on it.
Mihir Matalia has a childlike curiosity as such is a lifelong student. He has MS in Computer Science, MS in Security and MBA. He lives in Plainview Long Island, NY. Twitter handle @mmatalia
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In Jainism alcohol consumption of any kind is not allowed, neither are there any exceptions like occasional or social drinking. The most important reason against alcohol consumption is the effect of alcohol on the mind and soul.