I don’t really work a lot—Not like most of you work
There’s no specific place to be five days a week, eight hours a day. I’m a self-employed creative class life coach. Basically, there’s a laptop, a knack for word-smithing, and amazingly, I’m paid for my opinions.
I have way too much free time. I should be working harder and have less of it, but I’ve discovered the most amazing forms of distraction. My favourite is:
The Link-Click Cycle of Spiritual Retardation
It goes like this:
Reddit (About ten subs like r/worldnews, r/writing, r/vancouver, r/motivation, r/movies.)
Facebook (Business account)
And on, and on, and on, click, click, click, click, for hours, and hours, with brief breaks attempt and read, or play wall tennis, before returning to the link-click cycle.
I preach because I sin!
I was at my brothers house, and while I was link cycling on my laptop, I watched him do the same, and realized that Internet hasn’t created a generation of educated genius, but a society of short-form entertainment addicts. Myself included. A generation hooked on instant, on-demand stimulus that provides little to no educational, or spiritual value. The vast majority instigates a brief emotional burst, and then it’s a clickitty to the next brain turd. Ten minutes later it’s gone down the long term storage hole.
We used to come home and click through the same ten tv channels and complain that nothing was on, now we do the same thing on our laptops, except that there’s always something on. Into Aliens? Go to your Alien Link. Into vegan cooking? Oldschool RPG’s? Culture war? Hipster fashion? Knitting?
I love the Internet and social media, but I’ve noticed that the more I subject myself to my link-click cycle, the more I retard myself spiritually. I become lazier, more depressed, more apathetic.
Why isn’t an endless stream of entertainment making us happier?
As a writer, it’s very easy to call this cycle “research.” But research is only research if you are actively creating something. The vast majority of Internet users are consumers, absorbers, digesting the art of others, and producing nothing. We drink and drug ourselves and fill our time with absorption, endlessly cycling through our ten favourite links.
And social media, the answer to our loneliness? The next time you’re at a party, a bus stop, or any social gathering, take count of how many people are glaring into the computer screens, chatting online instead of with live humans. Isolating themselves with a never ending barrage of useless information, shallow communication, and lazy entertainment. Social media is social simulation.
I’m currently reading a fiction novel called, “The Glass Bead Game,” by Herman Hesse. Published in 1943, it follows the life of Joseph Knecht who is a member of an elite group of intellectuals, whose purpose it is to master the art of The Glass Bead Game; a game that encompasses all of human knowledge from the arts, philosophies, histories and sciences, and draws players to make deep connections between them. The novel won Hesse a Nobel prize for literature.
At first I could barely make it through the first five pages without falling asleep. I had to make a road trip without Internet access in order to build my reading muscle and focus so that I could absorb this man’s genius work of art. It took Hesse years of focus to complete. I can barely read it, never mind write my second novel without checking my Twitter feed after every paragraph.
Yet I’m able to keep up my link-click cycle from dawn until dusk without a break.
No. Break the pattern. Go create.
Exercise the muscles, and cultivate focus.
Read big books to utilize that which stagnates and shrivels without long-form information.
Don’t delude yourself; your Internet link-click cycle will not, is not fulfilling you. And I know you’re here reading my blog, and you’re probably one of my friends or family, and I would love to be part of your link-click cycle. Having access to limitless short-form information isn’t necessarily making us any more knowledgeable, healthy or fulfilled. We were once all warriors, poets, and artisans.
Read a difficult book, play a sport, meet new people.
Leave your smart phone at home.
Stop the link cycle. Be awake.
Use you laptop to create something.
Make music, paint, write.
Use it as a tool to improve your life, rather than waste, endlessly clicking, seeking the stimulus to fill that empty, entertainment seeking hole.
Be very present to the effect, of how you feel at this moment. Are you learning? Are you growing? Are you having grand epiphanies? Are you experiencing joy?
If you’re not, then why do what you are doing? Why click again?
Turn the shit off. You don’t need to check Facebook again. You don’t need to search Twitter again. You don’t need to upload another pic today (unless you’re a photographer or model), you don’t need to read Reddit again. You don’t need to play Dota2 for another two hours.
There’s a reason you aren’t having dreams. Because you learn, or grow. You didn’t experience anything new. You are not have any epiphanies.
When abused, distraction is a drug. Use it in moderation, as a reward, or a brief stress reliever–not as a lifestyle.