Back To Boredom
This week I’ve been listening to Stolen Focus by Johann Hari at work. It’s a book about our attention spans in the digital age. There’s a lot of information on how our brains process information, sleep and artificial light, as well as the importance of day-dreaming. The tone is largely lamenting how technology has destroyed peoples attention spans and made everyone more neurotic.
Later in the book, Johann talks to the crowd revolving around the documentary the Social Dilemma who tell us it’s a bigger picture than our own usage. The same people who turned social media into an invasive brain warping medium end up having a child and deciding their creations are bad for humanity. It doesn’t mean the Social Dilemma crowd is wrong, social media sucks ass, but they certainly still deserve their special corner of hell for creating things like the “like” button and the infinite scroll and push notifications. If you keep on push notifications you’re insane.
An aside: In the Social Dilemma section Johann gets on his apple crate about “right wing extremism” and “climate deniers”, blaming youtube for making people radicalized. I don’t really care about Johann’s personal views, but I hate the assumption that I can only see neo-nazis in the streets and not Antifa straight up burning cities down on mainstream news. I just find it odd that he would leave out the obvious situation which is that people on all political sides have been radicalized. But writing clear and objectively as such doesn’t get you on the NYT best sellers list. Best to tow the line. I don’t even think it’s true that you can’t be objective, but blindly building the myth of the current American status quo, and not being objective makes me despise the author. It feels spineless to blindly spout what Al Gore or Obama want’s America to be when they’re just as slimy as republicans. It’s the smug attitude I dislike…
“I went out of my way to be a liberal. You know, that very self-conscious kind of equality.” - Ram Dass.
Regardless, Stolen Focus is a good book and I’ve gotten what I wanted out of it which was a kick in the ass to unplug and be less fried. I stopped smoking weed and casually drinking, but in place of that I started playing FPS games again, which I hadn’t done consistently in years. When I did smoke weed I’d always anticipate smoking and playing Call of Duty, but once I was high it felt extremely pointless.
It’s of my own fault that I need some kind of fidgety activity to occupy my time, but It wasn’t always that way. In my early 20’s I had a flip phone, then an iPhone without data - just calls and text. I get very nostalgic for those days. In 2020 I went from zero data to unlimited data. In retrospect the effect this had on my psyche is just as warping as taking a drug, but more subliminal because when I’d taken a drug in the past it was a chosen experience. Being inundated with information, fried-shit, texts, movies and cringe opinions in a non-stop frenzy became ubiquitous. It’s completely normal, like drinking an energy drink for your attention span and personality. Context switching is extremely bad, which is what social media is - this person says this, this person posts photo of whatever. In no way are they connected besides that for whatever reason you chose to follow these people or the algorithm showed you this scenario. On a subconscious and subliminal level your brain is spinning. It’s extremely confused and agitated. This agitation becomes normal after a while and your brain starts to crave it out of repetition.
Tools for better use (Mostly pertaining to iPhone)
I now use the Freedom app and lock my shit up. Keep the demons away. I don’t care if it seems weak. You try to cut every convenience clear out of your life. Even Ted Kaczynski rode the Greyhound bus.
If you must have youtube then making a playlist is your best option. Go to youtube in safari then share the web page to your home screen. This will create an app that will bring you straight to the playlist and avoid the youtube suggestion page.
Set up your Do Not Disturb mode to only allow your emergency contacts. I only get text and call notifications from my wife and family.
Remove all apps from home screen. If you really need it you can find it in the app library. You’ll be surprised what you really need and don’t need.
A phone is simultaneously an itchy butthole and a leaky ass. It nags at you to pick it up for a billion unique reasons, like an asshole begs to be scratched.
It’s leaky because it leaks your data and personal information out into the world and into the hands of companies like google. Google is like a giant Amazonian leech sucking on your leaky ass.
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