In her introduction to the ‘World’s Wife’ by Carol Ann Duffy, Jeanette Winterson says the ‘punishment of the Gods turns out to be a 24/7 always-on meaningless managerial job, where no matter how many emails you answer, your inbox will be full again the next day’. As a professor, I am fortunate not to have the meaningless job part of this punishment but I do sometimes feel that my inbox fills up no matter how many emails I answer. Actually, I suspect that the filling rate is related to my answering rate but it appears to be a complex feedback relationship.
Many of us compound the punishment by shackling ourselves to the inbox via our smartphones. You may not see it as a punishment to be constantly in touch with everyone but it is probably a handicap. We have a limited bandwidth to handle information and people tend to over-communicate and lack understanding. We need to reduce the level of communication and increase the level of understanding.
I am breaking the relentless cycle of communication by taking a holiday for a couple of weeks. There will be some horizon therapy [see my post entitled ‘Horizon Therapy‘ on May 4th, 2016] and mind-wandering [see post entitled ‘Mind wandering‘ on September 3rd, 2014] as well as doing pretty much nothing.