Losing the computers was actually better for me. I didn’t feel like I had to be entertaining everybody.” — Reid Stowe
That observation is from solo sailor Stowe, who just set a world record by spending 1,152 consecutive days at sea in his 70-foot, gaffed-rigged schooner, Anne. Stowe regularly posted updates, photographs, and paintings on his Website until the last six months at sea when his two computers failed.
It is amazing that, via technology, a man alone at sea for over three years could stay in touch in both words and images. Stowe had a message for the world with his voyage. A sculptor, painter, and musician, Stowe tried to inspire the world with his marathon voyage, an achievement that he says was only possible through the power of love.
But when he lost his computers, and thereby his ability to show and tell the world what he was doing, he seemed to gain even more. He says he was able to write deeper essays and paint richer paintings. “I was receiving illuminations, one after the next,” he says. “It was incredible.”
But what about the rest of us? It seems like so many of us are obsessed with communicating constantly, whether or not we really have something relevant for the world to hear. For example:
- Constantly texting or talking on cell phones
- Obsessive tweeting
- Multiple daily status updates on Facebook
- Checking email minute by minute
- Blogging, even when we have nothing really to say
Why do we do this? Is it healthy? Just because we can does not mean we should.
What drives us to report our every move? Back when we did not have this capability, we seemed to live full enough lives. We actually hand-wrote letters and mailed them, sometimes taking weeks for a turnaround reply.
Take Twitter, for example. Experts tell us to share useful information. Accordingly, people tweet their latest hot piece of info, a link supposedly of great value. Add it up, and thousands of people are referring thousands of people to thousands of pieces of information. Can anyone keep up?
What is the reasoning behind this? Are people really tweeting to share valuable information, or are they tweeting merely to be seen tweeting? I tweet, therefore, I am.
You’ll see similar behavior on Facebook. Some people will update their status several times a day. What motivates this constant need to tell the world what we are doing?
Reid Stowe proved that even when alone at sea for over three years, ceasing to communicate constantly via technology can be a blessing, not a curse.