First time in a while that I haven’t written a blog post in over a week, but here we are.
The truth is that I’ve been busy with a lot of work and also some hobbies. Given my whole social media exodus, I’ve had a lot more time to myself, and with it a lot more focus on particular hobbies, including new ones.
It’s been an interesting three weeks since I started my whole fasting process of the digital world. I went from being pretty active and using YouTube on the daily to absolutely nothing at all, and it opened up a lot of space in my life, and not just in regards to time, but cognitively, too.
It has led to better decision making, as written previously as well. I’ve been able to focus really well on the things I want to do, and I’ve also been learning a lot faster in all areas that are most important to me.
In other words, culling social media helped narrow down essential values in my life. It also helped me recognize ones that I do value but haven’t started yet – one in particular in regards to a musical instrument that I have since bought and have been toying with for the past few days. I won’t be showing or talking about that until I become somewhat competent at it, but let’s just say producing a sound let alone music on it is a rather challenging task. I’m practically addicted to it though because the sound is astonishing. Anyway..
The purity and stillness in my own life is something that I’ve been picking up on too, the longer I am off social media. What do I mean by that?
Well, I’ve mentioned that my sleep has been a lot better in recent weeks – a lot better. There were some logistical reasons for poor quality sleep too, but overall I’m sleeping longer and feeling much more well rested. It hasn’t been just that that has changed though. There’s this certain sense of stillness and lack of panic/hurry that I didn’t even know was there prior, but am radiantly aware of now.
One of the things about consuming massive amounts of information is that it takes a lot of time to process and fills your head with a ton of noise that may not be relevant or interesting to you. I had spoken about this interesting effect in previous blogs regarding the things I am noticing during this challenge of mine, but it’s becoming really apparent recently.
Life is very, very calm and serene. It didn’t feel that way before, but it was largely because of how I was perceiving it. I was seeing the world through filters given to me by information jammed into my head. I was looking for the negative, in other words.
This isn’t to say that social media and information is bad – most of the readers who have been here a while know that my stance is there is no intrinsic value in things, the value or lack of value is decided by the actor in accordance to their own hierarchy. McDonalds isn’t automatically bad, but in larger quantities it can become very, very bad. It depends on the agent utilizing the tool.
The problem with social media however is that it’s a new technology that we don’t quite fully understand how it affects us – until we turn it off. It’s a very powerful tool with tremendous positive potential, but if not managed by the individual appropriately can cripple them in terms of overall wellbeing.
I wasn’t aware of how it was stunting my own focus and general emotional state. Prior to this exodus, I was far more easily agitated, had less patience and generally looked at things from an extremely cynical lens.
I still am quite the cynic, but it’s much less pronounced and it’s more focused towards the things within my control and sphere of influence, and it’s used in a positive way. I’m no longer simply reacting to things around the world with a cynical eye and becoming somewhat spiritually dulled by it, and it’s because I’m not hearing about it so often.
This sounds a lot like “ignorance is bliss”, but it’s not the case. It is good to know, but you have to be selective of what to know.
One of the things that the information age and modern technology has given us is the ability to know about events around the world in an instant. It’s a tidal wave of information that can be flooding your stream of consciousness, and it’s basically impossible to process coherently – you can only really “react” to it on a superficial level.
We’re not primed for that kind of pressure as a species, I think. Too much information is a thing, just like too much fat, too much sugar or too much water are. We can actively change how we behave by focusing on other things and letting go of the tendency to want to know everything, but the temptation to stay and scroll is extremely alluring – you’ll get doses of happy feely cute doggy videos in contrast to the next scroll down which shows rights violating videos and brutality of some sort.
It stimulates the mind and makes you feel somewhat alive, but over time the feeling is dulled and you feel completely numb to it all, needing more and more of it to get some kind of buzz. We’re already somewhat aware of how pornography viewing and other online activities can create such a loop in a person, but we’re very much not talking about how social media can do it too. Or rather, we are – we just tend to ignore it.
Again, it’s not that social media is bad. None of this is, but it’s just like any other tool – how you use it is what matters. If you use a hammer to plan out and build a house, you’re using it in a way that is beneficial and productive. But if you use it to just smash things for no reason (and you’re not in the demolishment industry), it tends to lead to useless results that probably don’t benefit you.
Given the serenity and sheer silence of things nowadays, alongside my ability to focus much more on things very important to me, I think I’ll be keeping off most social media indefinitely.
YouTube I’ll still use to some degree – in fact I had to use it a few days ago just to get some quick info on a topic – but it was used in such a way that greatly enhanced my life. It wasn’t for just blank check consumption of shit that isn’t useful. Remember: filter what is useless, take what is useful.
But Facebook, twitter and all that? Don’t think I’ll be jumping back onto those. I do use messenger because it’s the best way for me to keep in touch with close friends back in Australia (the great benefit of the internet is international connectivity), but everything else really is just noise to me. People who want to contact me do contact me, too – it’s very easy to get in touch with me really, even without the direct messaging of social media.
It’s been an interesting experiment, nonetheless. Life is a hell of a lot more serene and focused, with hobbies being reexamined and long forgotten interests reignited. It’s quite nice – there’s a lot more contentment in my life rather than just intense cynicism. That’ll always be there on some level, but it’s not soul destroying.
More writing soon.