The iPhone has an “Airplane” setting which turns the radio (phone) off but keeps the rest of the device working. We all need the equivalent of an “Airplane” mode which turns off all distractions and leaves us free to think – uninterrupted, for long periods of time.
I thought about this on my long flight from Mumbai to San Francisco (via Shanghai) on Jet Airways. I always find long flights very productive for thinking. It is hard to get this kind of disconnectedness on earth. (Hopefully, it stays that way, and they don’t start Internet and mobile access on airplanes.) During our regular day on Earth’s surface, we end up having plenty of beeps and all that – people probing us via email, SMS, phone calls or popping into cabins for discussions. It is hard to get a few hours where all one can do is sit in the same place, get food delivered, and thus have the mind free for long stretches of time.
I find these periods very good for deep thinking. There is a certain timelessness about long-distance airplane travel – which was similar to how trains used to be once upon a time. One has one’s space and is left completely free to do as one pleases.
I think we should all go into Airplane mode every once in a while – can do wonders for the mind.