Digital fast* first edition (June 17-19, 2022), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
In June 2022, a number of Ottawa-based friends and acquaintances participated in a first coordinated experience of life offline – taking a weekend break from technology, or at least the most pernicious forms of it in our lives these days.
The idea behind the experiment was: what if a group of people decided to step away from (all) tech, together, while still living ‘regular’ (likely urban) lives?
To allow for social connections and shared reflection during this weekend, we planned a couple of in-person hangouts – including a talking circle – to reflect collectively. To enhance the reflections and add meaning to the disconnection – we also wanted to provide participants with a booklet containing some of the readings that the organizers have been exchanging and talking about for several years.
The hope was that the booklet will guide participants’ reflections on technology, the self, and society, as the booklet moves from ancient wisdom to storytelling (as one example of pre-digital human connection), to analysis and critique of certain forms of technology, before ultimately veering towards more hopeful and encouraging readings (plus some, dare we say, advice or practical solutions grounded in lived experience).
Indeed, the booklet, coupled with participation in the digital fast itself, as an act of intentional absence leading to a heightened focus of the real, could encourage participants to think critically about technology’s deep and dangerously-strong grip on our collective future and individual selves.
The readings booklet referenced in the template above exists offline-only (intentionally so on our part). If you would like to be mailed a copy, get in touch and we’ll see what we can do. You can see a couple of sample pages below.
Lastly, we also hoped that the digital fast would inspire participants to reclaim the beautiful possibilities of a life lived in balance : where technology is put in its place as a tool, but not seen as an indispensable means of becoming fulfilled or reaching a higher plane of existence.
Interested in initiating your own digital fast? Here’s an invitation template so you can see what organizing a digital fast might look like (feel free to modify the template as you see fit, and share with us if you end up using it and where your event took place).
*A digital fast is an intentional stepping away from digital technology for a set period of time in order to reflect, both individually and collectively, on the role technology plays or should play in our personal lives as well as our collective life as a society.