We live in a time when access to information is more plentiful than ever. That’s the “light” side. The “dark” side, however, is what happens when those info platforms have our attention. In a word: sales. Our attention is being “hooked” so we buy stuff. Whether it’s new razors, snacks or opinions, our attention is worth everything to these social media and search engine vendors. Once “they” have our attention, they can sell us ANYTHING. And “they” know that. The whole neuroscience of it is intended to excite and stimulate our brains so we buy. The shapes, colors, words, visuals and such are all positioned just so. We might not even know that we need something or why we need it. We might not have cared about an issue (or very much). But now we’re steeped in it, so addicted to it, that it’s causing us to require more and more stimulation and even injure the relationships we most value. The entire electronic info industry looks like it’s about things and information. But it functions as brain manipulation that seems designed to create a world of mega consumers.
What do we do in this era of electronic puppet making and mastering? How do we use it without it using us (as much)? Simplify. Unplug whenever possible. Get off the internet. Put your phone somewhere to recharge when you get home and stop looking at it. Return to the “basics” of physical activity and meaningful human interaction. Talk with each other. Eat with each other. Go outside. The more nature, the better. In this time where we are overrun with brain stimulation, the “medicine” is to unplug and simplify. We need to just say “no” for ourselves and especially for our kids. I’m convinced that the more removed we become from each other, from our “community” and nature itself, the sicker we will become. The more “anxiety” and “depression” we will have to confront. Because external stimulation distracts from true fulfillment and satisfaction.
While there is nothing wrong with this sort of data deluge, there’s a world of difference between using it and it using us.