Okay, let’s dive into the matrix together. I think it’s pretty clear by my past Substack newsletters that I’m in a stage of life where I’m changing how I spend my time online. I’ve been watching a lot of docs and reading a lot of articles about the toxic rabbit hole our society has gone down since the quick rise of tech and social media. It’s all morphed a lot in the last decade or so, and PHEW it’s a doozy of a situation. Yes, there is so much good, but there is also a lot of bad.
Thanks for sharing those articles. I'm going to read them the moment this is posted.
But before I do, I thought you might find these interesting. It's easy to pin a lot of the problems on social media because it's the most recent iteration, but it's not even close to the start. Check out:
Noam Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent:
Edward Bernays's "Propoganda"
More on Bernays and his influence: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays
He basically invented advertising as we know it and he used a lot of psychology to manipulate people into making the choices he was paid to promote.
Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique"
She was a journalist who noticed a trend in what she was being asked to write. Her book is much bigger and more profound than that, but what she has to say about the media (advertising and otherwise) is POWERFUL!
P.S. Please keep writing these. As always, I find your thought deep and fascinating.
I support you, but it also scares me how fast technology is evolving. You're absolutely right, it's hard to make sense of it all - what's bad and what's good. It's starting to give me a headache.
Here for you (and your words) in all iterations and forms!
Having a kid woke me up to the reality of how much technology and the Internet—and all the incentives both offer us to behave in ways we otherwise wouldn't—has been running my life.
One day about 3 months ago, I picked up my iPhone to 'just do one thing real quick,' and looked up who knows how much longer later... to see my baby boy staring at me. I have no idea how much time had passed, and imagined what impressions he must be getting, seeing all this big people staring at these things in their hands all the time, ignoring each other.
Right then and there, I removed all social media, email, news, and internet browser apps from my phone. My screen time has since dropped from ~3 hours a day to about ~45 minutes, and I regularly (blissfully) lose track of where my phone is several times a day now. Honestly? It's great.
I do still feel a sort of fuzzy nagging FOMO, a sense that I'm somehow not doing my due digital diligence as a human in 2023, but it's fading. Maybe these are extreme measures, but this feels like the right balance for me right now. I'm really and truly there for every moment with my son, in real time. I wish I could say I'm sleeping better and more focused reading 10 books a week and making a million dollars a month, but the changes have been more subtle than that.
Still trying to figure out what the hard philosophy I can commit to going forward, but this feels like a healthy start. Most days, I feel... older and happier, I guess, in a quiet way.
In a 'good enough' way.
Wonderful, compelling, thought-provoking writing. As usual, my friend. Love you bunches xoxo