The monks don’t have access to newspapers, television and radio. Although this isn’t explicitly said, I’m pretty sure the monasteries aren’t wired for Internet access. An average day for a monk is prayer, prayer and more prayer. Monks attend services that typically last eight hours and are “utterly transformed with a concentration so profound, they were immune from distraction,” Bob Simon, the “60 Minutes” correspondent, said on the special. Sadly, the only thing I can concentrate on for eight hours is a marathon of “House Hunters.”
This technology-free lifestyle seems to be working out for the men: Cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease are rarely seen on Mount Athos.
Researchers at UCSF recently published a study that claims technology multitasking impairs short-term memory and causes the multitasker to be more easily distracted. Of course, this is not the first study to suggest that there’s a downside to being constantly connected to the Internet. But that doesn’t seem to stop us from simultaneously checking e-mail, tweeting and watching videos of autotuned cats.
One distraction that’s banned on Mount Athos that’s not so modern: Ladies. No women are allowed to set foot on the pennisula in order to honor the Virgin Mary and to save the monks from distraction. I think that’s one distraction most men wouldn’t want to give up.
Watch the “60 Minutes” special below: