Rod Dreher

My Templeton colleague Dave Thomas notes that even computers need a “Sabbath” (i.e., time to rest), but people these days seem to think there’s something wrong with rest. Excerpt:

This is compounded by an always-on society. The ability to be constantly networked suggests the need to be constantly networked. Just ask these University of Maryland students.

What’s up with those students? Check it out:

Here was the challenge given to 200 University of Maryland students from a variety of majors: Abstain from social media for 24 hours.
That meant no iPhone or text messaging. No laptops or netbooks. No Gchatting or Twittering. No e-mail and absolutely no Facebook. Ah, a return to simplicity.
But just read the blogs these students wrote after the traumatic experience — it’s very easy to confuse these students with crack addicts who went cold-turkey, smokers not given the comfort of a patch while quitting, alcoholics forced to dry up. The university’s new release on the study last week reported that some descriptions popped up over and over: “In withdrawal. Frantically craving. Very anxious. Extremely antsy. Miserable. Jittery. Crazy.”
“I clearly am addicted and the dependency is sickening,” one student said. Another student had to fight the urge to check e-mail: “I noticed physically, that I began to fidget, as if I was addicted to my iPod and other media devices, and maybe I am.”

Good grief! I’m beginning to think that there is something here we should call Thomas’s Law of Irresistable Inquietude: The ability to be constantly networked creates the need to be constantly networked.
I’ve noticed since I got an iPhone that I never just stand there. Even on the elevator, I’m checking e-mail or reading the newspaper online. It’s stupid. It’s … irresistable.

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