In 2020, most of us spent more time on screens than ever before. For many of us it was the only thing connecting us to our friends and family during a period of global isolation. But what else the internet come to represent for us? Entertainment, education, politics, work, distractions, solutions, etc.
Part of the allure around the internet is the concept of infinite knowledge and the ability to learn just about anything. While I think that there is a great deal of learning that can come from the internet, there are two problems; misinformation and experience.
For every website with facts and data, there is another with incomplete or even false data. And it is becoming increasingly difficult to be able to decipher between the two. Especially if you are a novice in an area, it is hard to know where to look to get accurate information. Don’t even get me started on the “news.”
I love to read, it’s one of my favorite things and I prefer actual books to reading or listening to books on a device – more on that later. But there is no substitute to experience. Meditating for example. If you read a book on mindfulness and meditation but you never practice or experience it, can you actually feel that you understand the concepts and gained the benefits that only come from actually having experienced something?
What if religion is no longer the “opium of the people” what if the internet is? The idea of being in “constant contact” and accessible at all times has us pulling our hair out. We want to feel wanted and needed and appreciated but that is not how it actually plays out. We tell ourselves that by being available to anyone at any time we are adding value. But it comes at the expense of our brains, mental and physical health and our personal relationships.
I know someone who has to post in her office group chat when she leaves her desk to use the restroom and there is an unspoken (and unrewarded) competition around who starts the work first and who stays longest. On what planet is that healthy?
When couples are checking their work email during family and on dates, what are they protecting? Their income? Their standing with their collogues?
Each time we get a notification for a call (though those happen less and less), a text, an email or some notification, we get a small dump of dopamine. People who create apps and devices know that and have designed these them to get us and keep us addicted one little dopamine hit at a time. And we are addicted!
We have allowed our worlds and time to be filled with noise because the noise in our ears helps us avoid the noise in our minds. Part of the reason I like to read books is I can turn my phone, computer and TV off and immerse myself in a world of ideas that I have chosen. The need to have constant noise comes from anxiety. And our devices and our addictions to them enhance this anxiety.
I’m in no way suggesting that you call you internet provider and cancel your internet, that isn’t really possible anymore. But you can start with five minutes a day and just let it be quiet while you do chores or walk the dog or make dinner. Little by little, you will loosen the grip your devices have on you.
As always, I’m here. If you are ready to work on having the life you want, call me and let’s get started!