In 1993 I saw the movie, Shawdowlands.
Shadowlands is a 1993 British biographical drama film about the relationship between academic C. S. Lewis (played by Anthony Hopkins) and Jewish American poet Joy Davidman (played by Debra Winger), her death from cancer, and how this challenged Lewis’s Christianity.
The movie is about making meaning out of suffering. Is life Happiness and Joy or Pain and Suffering. It is worth the time investment.
The scene that came to mind today as I was cleaning up my desk area was when Joy (Winger) meets Jack (Hopkins) in his home study. It is a pleasant scene.
The room was full of books, pens and paper and a beautiful lamp and desk.
What was absent and of note to me - no computer and no phone.
I think there was a typewriter but growing up in the 80’s at the height of WordPerfect - the most modern Wordprocessor of that time - a typerwriter did not register as technology or a tool to use for any work.
The year was 1993. I was 25. My computer was a 386 running Windows 3.1
I can remember thinking “How does he do any work?”
Today I am 53. I have a similar room of my own. I do have a computer - still running windows. I work from home as an insurance agent. So yes I have to have a computer to work. It is 2021.
However, I am writing this on my other side of my desk in my office. My office has a U - shaped desk built in. It is designed to have 2 workspaces. I have chosen to have one side as my work side and the other as my personal side for journaling and reflection. I do keep this iPad on this desk for when I want to write something like this.
I believe in the movie C.S. Lewis called this room his study. I call my room my office.
Neil Postman talks a great length about the language we use around technology and how techology changes the meaning of things.
Each of us are bombbarded with distractions that cause mental context switching and decrease our ability to think deeply. To sit and study a topic or event.
Office vs Study
If walk into my study the name itself implies my task is to learn and reflect. To think deeply about a topic or book. There is no implied output.
If walk into my Office, the name implies output. Work implies the production of something. Often times this can turn into just doom scrolling.
Over the last 2 years I have spent too much time thinking about which app or device to use for different tasks. I have spent time watching YouTube videos trying to sort out my approach or how it improve. I scoffed at Ryan Holiday’s use of 4X6 cards for his commonplace book because it was not digital.
From my journal Nov 2020.
Life is not about fixing that one problem area or understanding that one concept that will unlock the secret. This is the modern lie. Rather I want to be a guy with a journal. I want to cultivate a deep life. A life where my values get translated into action.
Today my office is now called my Study.