Optimal Digital Diet

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Bram
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Post by Bram »

An issue I continue to grapple with.

Following a good food diet is essential for health and well-being, and so I'd argue is being thoughtful about how we consume digital media.

After watching "The Social Dilemma," which I recommend, reading a handful of anti-tech books, and most recently listening to Joe Rogan's podcast with Tristan Harris (of "The Social Dilemma"), it seems that even the experts are at a loss for how to deal with things.

Here are two ideas I've found helpful, and would love to hear from others.

#1 Be mindful of when tech serves you

* I love having a training log here.
* I enjoy sharing beautiful moments or funny things on Instagram.
* I enjoy learning about interesting people or subjects on YouTube and the internet.
* I enjoy using my phone when around people to share something that strengthens our interaction.

#2 Avoid it when it doesn't

* basically all other uses. And I understand this post violates this, but I hope that sharing it is illuminating for others or myself (in any responses).

Happy Thanksgiving!
Last edited by Bram on Sun Nov 28, 2021 1:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Shafpocalypse Now
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Post by Shafpocalypse Now »

Never buy anything you see presented to you on IG, FB, or Twitter.


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Post by Bennyonesix1 »

Social media is irredemiably malignant.

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Post by Sangoma »

Bennyonesix1 wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 12:06 am Social media is irredemiably malignant.
I don't think I have ever seen a better assessment.
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motherjuggs&speed
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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

Distance makes people worse. So does lack of perceived consequences. I'm guilty of this as well. I've posted things, and sent emails, and made phone calls, in which I've said things I would only have said in person if I were boiling over, and maybe not even then.

There are horrors I've seen that I never would have seen without the Web than ensnares us all.

There's also the pernicious effect of educational-themed productions like Veritasium and Numberphile. I tell myself I've learned something, but have I really? And was it worth the opportunity cost?

At the same time, I'm dying for a conversation, and to have that back and forth with new voices, and to feel like I'm part of some kind of community. I also really want to feel like I'm contributing something of value.


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Post by Bennyonesix1 »

That's the bait they drew us in with and now they're closing off the access to everything behind "CLASSIFIED" and "MIS-INFORMATION" ETC ETC

They couldn't control the real world enough so they created a limited meta-world (internet) where a greater degree of control is possible.

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Post by Bram »

There's a line from The Social Dilemma that's something like:

"We were afraid of when AI would overtake our strengths [cue scene of Terminator 2 and robots stomping on skulls], but it's already overtaken our weaknesses [cue scene of people swiping away on their smartphones]."

One of the toughest parts of reduced use is being okay with boredom. Saying, "Alright, I'm just gonna space out." Of course, having a good book on hand cures this problem.
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Post by Fat Cat »

Bram wrote: Sun Nov 28, 2021 1:48 am One of the toughest parts of reduced use is being okay with boredom.
Think of the social ills of drugs, alcohol, consumerism, fanaticism, etc. and how much of it is driven by people's inability to grapple with boredom.
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Post by Bram »

That's an honest assessment.

I basically drink coffee because I enjoy the act, but the trade-off is my sleep gets fucked. Done for the day and four hours until bedtime, haha, we'll see if I succumb to the temptations of easy entertainment.
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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

I don't think it's about boredom at all. I think it's disaffection. People are unhappy so they seek something to fill the void, or distract them. Some things seem like an easy way to feel better. Just now I was listening to music to fill an emptiness inside me, then stopped when I realized how empty that is, and that I'm empty largely due to a lifetime of seeking to fill myself with empty pleasures or distractions.

Almost all of the heavy drug users I can think of were really unhappy. All of the heavy drinkers I've known were really unhappy to begin with. The people I know who are the most media obsessed are really unhappy in their own lives. I have often been almost manic about filling my head with crap to distract myself from my emotional wounds.

Granted, people do a lot of dumb stuff due to boredom but I think that's maybe 1% or less of the problem we all have with media. I think it's a combination of

Not having our emotional needs met
Feelings of inadequacy/insecurity
Not exactly FOMO but a fear of being left out or not part of the group
Lack of a meaningful goal
Lack of a healthy social group
Lack of perceived value. A lot of really accomplished people have felt that they weren't valued. It seems that early scarring lasts.
Low frustration tolerance. In my case I had a high frustration tolerance but that got used up due to so damn much frustration. I think that's true of a lot of people that are thought of as having a bad attitude, etc. -- a lot them them have used it up or had it taken out of them.
A feeling that it's hopeless anyway. This is the one that currently drives my poor choices.

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Post by Bram »

You lay out a lot of reasonable possible causes.

I heard recently that the opposite of addiction isn't sobriety, but connection. There's something there that seems sensible.

Haha, btw, I have a low threshold for feeling frustrated, but a decent threshold for internally raging with frustration without letting it out. It does make sense that this internalization of outrage would have some negative side-effects.
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Post by Fat Cat »

Bram wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 8:04 pm Following a good food diet is essential for health and well-being, and so I'd argue is being thoughtful about how we consume digital media.
Don't stop at digital media, any media at all. Music, television, newspapers, magazines, etc. Don't imagine that we aren't influenced deeply by the media and messages we surround ourselves with. Violence, degeneracy, covetousness, materialism, etc. are ugly messages being pumped into us all the time. If you're truly interested in the subject, check out the concept of Heart-Mind Fasting (心齋 xīnzhāi) from Zhuangzi.
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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

Here's something I only recently noticed about photos in magazines. They're carefully selected to give you a sense of longing or feeling left out. I don't mean beautiful people doing cool stuff -- I don't think that's a problem. No, what I mean is, they're designed to make you feel inadequate. Again, I'm not saying because they're something you're not, but they could have shots that say, let's celebrate this wonderful person, or isn't this cool? we're all glad we're able to share this moment -- but no. They chose those that will either fill you with horror or else a sense of not being included.

All media is a psy op. I guess it always was. It seems like they've taken the gloves off in the last 5 years or so. They're putting their programming and mind rape right there and giving us the middle finger.
Last edited by motherjuggs&speed on Wed Dec 01, 2021 11:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Sangoma »

Fat Cat wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 10:36 pm
Bram wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 8:04 pm Following a good food diet is essential for health and well-being, and so I'd argue is being thoughtful about how we consume digital media.
Don't stop at digital media, any media at all. Music, television, newspapers, magazines, etc. Don't imagine that we aren't influenced deeply by the media and messages we surround ourselves with. Violence, degeneracy, covetousness, materialism, etc. are ugly messages being pumped into us all the time. If you're truly interested in the subject, check out the concept of Heart-Mind Fasting (心齋 xīnzhāi) from Zhuangzi.
Exactly. There is a fallacy of "being informed". 99% of "information" is junk, and there is no point of being informed of things that have no bearing on one's life. It took me a year to find out that Teresa May replaced David Cameron as the Prime Minister of Great Brittan. What changed in my life during the year of ignorance? Nothing. I guess we can argue about this particular example. However, getting "informed" about some schoolboy staring down an Indian elder somewhere in Washington (as another example, everyone knows what I am talking about) and having an opinion about it is dumb.

Heart-mind fasting is cool. Solitude is a healer.
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Post by Bram »

Fat Cat wrote: Tue Nov 30, 2021 10:36 pm Don't stop at digital media, any media at all. Music, television, newspapers, magazines, etc. Don't imagine that we aren't influenced deeply by the media and messages we surround ourselves with. Violence, degeneracy, covetousness, materialism, etc. are ugly messages being pumped into us all the time. If you're truly interested in the subject, check out the concept of Heart-Mind Fasting (心齋 xīnzhāi) from Zhuangzi.
Was unaware...found this translation:

Yen Hui: What is fasting of the heart?
Confucius: The goal of fasting is inner unity. This means hearing, but not with the ear; hearing, but not with the understanding; hearing with the spirit, with your whole being… The hearing of the spirit is not limited to any one faculty, to the ear, or to the mind. Hence it demands the emptiness of all the faculties. And when the faculties are empty, then the whole being listens.
There is then a direct grasp of what is right there before you that can never be heard with the ear or understood with the mind. Fasting of the heart empties the faculties, frees you from limitation and from preoccupation. Fasting of the heart begets unity and freedom.
Yen Hui: I see. What was standing in my way was my own self-preoccupation. If I can begin this fasting of the heart, self-preoccupation will vanish. [The Way of Chuang-Tzŭ by Zhuangzi, Thomas Merton, p. 52].

----

I'm pretty good about avoiding the news altogether...no sports beyond surfing and a little MMA...I don't watch TV or movies except rarely...listen to non-mainstream music (old jazz, random rock, random EDM)....no porn.

But there is two things here:

1) The benefits of abstinence.
2) The benefits of inclusion.

Simply cutting bullshit, at least for me, doesn't equal fulfillment. It needs to be replaced with something valuable.
“The world is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

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Post by Ronald RayGun »

I feel like if you keep it light hearted, what's the issue? Internets iz for funzies.

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Post by Bram »

It sounds like you have the right attitude :)

I suppose I’m searching for full-engagement in life — and that can mean watching a funny YouTube video, or sitting on the beach enjoying the sunshine.

My own digital habits often interfere with this. For example, I only checked my phone this morning to make sure there was no emergencies — then cooked and did chores until work started, fully enjoying it. That was the right call. But it would have been easy to phone scroll instead. Trying to figure out the balance :)
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Post by Fat Cat »

motherjuggs&speed wrote: Wed Dec 01, 2021 1:37 am Here's something I only recently noticed about photos in magazines. They're carefully selected to give you a sense of longing and other feeling left out. I don't mean beautiful people doing cool stuff -- I don't think that's a problem. No, what I mean is, they're designed to make you feel inadequate. Again, I'm not saying because they're something you're not, but they could have shots that say, let's celebrate this wonderful person, or isn't this cool? we're all glad we're able to share this moment -- but no. They chose those that will either fill you with horror or else a sense of not being included.

All media is a psy op. I guess it always was. It seems like they've taken the gloves off in the last 5 years or so. They're putting their programming and mind rape right there and giving us the middle finger.
Good insights, brah. Most "mass-media" (i.e., news, mainstream entertainment, music, etc.) is intended to demoralize and stress the subject, because stress drives action. They want you to spend, to consume, to amass debt, trying to make the feeling of dread go away. Of course it won't, but they consolidate their wealth and their power over your mind in this way.
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Post by motherjuggs&speed »

In some way that I don't fully understand these media hits are addictive. I used to watch a lot of MMA and I got caught up in the personal dramas, which makes no sense at all. Engrossment in something that's actually valuable on the one hand, and feels rewarding on the other, is the antidote I think. Otherwise I'll probably replace one distraction with another.

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Post by Bram »

MJS, that's what I'm afraid of -- another bad habit doesn't get me anywhere.

Fattie, I thought about the "heart-mind fasting" today. There were two moments where I had nothing I wanted to do, and so I just spaced out. Both were 5-10 minutes and I enjoyed doing nothing. It's funny to not have considered that a viable option, but it worked :)
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