Craig Mod is a writer and photographer who lives in Japan. He loves mountains, and long walks and re-engineering his digital life with the help of analogue tools to craft a life more perfumed by simplicity and silence.
I recently discovered Craigs writing in an article he wrote for Wired Magazine titled: THE GLORIOUS, ALMOST-DISCONNECTED BOREDOM OF MY WALK IN JAPAN. I really enjoyed the style of his writing, and his articulation to open those small moments of substance from within the everyday dross. This led me to his website and a discovery of his love of meditation, of walking in nature, of disconnecting from digital addiction, and threading through it all, his passion for books.
When you sit down with a book, you understand the parameters of engagement. You know how long the book is. The book isn’t changing as you read it. It’s a solid, immutable thing. You and the book are on equal terms in many ways, as least from a physics point of view. You know what’s going to happen, and the book abides by its implicit contract, which is to be a book.
However, in digital-land many spaces (apps, games) quickly turn into slithering creatures beneath your feet. You never know where you stand. Their worlds are optimized to pull you back in for one more minute, one more click. Over and over. Cascades of chemical reactions in your noggin’ tell you to keep going, just one more hit; I feel this persona of the addict very strongly when I am online or using certain apps or devices.
That’s why I try to subvert my weaknesses, to subvert that persona. The easiest way is to turn off the internet. When I go to bed at night, the internet goes off. Phone into airplane mode. It doesn’t come back on until after lunch the next day (at the earliest). The difference in the quality of the day ahead between starting my morning with the internet on versus off is enormous.
If I wake up and touch my phone, I’ve already lost hours. Not because I’m browsing social media for hours, but because the mind has already been agitated, made unquiet, and the context switch back into thoughtfulness can take the whole morning. In other words, the addict part of my brain takes over and contaminates my ability to be contemplative. I lose the grace to dive into other worlds, the worlds of writing or programming or images.
And so much of my life is structured around rescuing that lost grace, making space for thinking. Much of what I do boils down to that. Because I’m really wimpy. Like so many of us. I’m weak when it comes to resisting the bounty of online goodness.Craig Mod.
Craig also hosts a podcast on the art of making books as well as self publishing a book documenting his eight days walking the Kumano Kodo, a thousand year old pilgrimage path in the mountains of Japan.
And showing us that used correctly the digital platform can also be a thing of substance, you can read of his pilgrimage here: Koya Bound.