Distractions Are Destroying Our Lives

Posted 26 Sep 2022 (2022-09-26)

This was written over the course of a month.

Writing this at 2:30am on a phone I hopefully just made distraction-proof. Time will tell if that works.

When I was a kid the world was very.. static. Web pages were flat and basic, notifications in their modern sense didn’t really exist and people checked up on things occasionally. When all of this stopped everything went to shit.

Now everything moves, we have these machines which throw stuff willingly and algorithmically in our faces and everyone wonders why they have the attention span of a goldfish.

If you’ve read my writings before you’ll know what I’m going to say next: social media does all of this and then some. Now I’m not going to sit here and berate it like usual.The ultimate goal of social media was a good but misguided goal. We build these machines and platforms with the intention to better the species, then end up doing more damage than anything external could to our minds.

When I was a kid I was told I was a whiz kid. I was really intelligent, read a lot of books and loved sharing my passions. Then I found the Web 1.0 internet and fell in love with it and the technology. Over time as aforementioned, it went from simplistic to rounded edges and lots of flashy gizmos and I, like everyone else, thought it was amazing. No one was prepared.

Take advertisements as an example: they’re in your face unless you block them, they are serving you an idea that takes your focus away from what you actually want to look at. This is a major reason why this site will never have ads or be big and flashy. It distracts from the content at hand. Sure it’s nice to look good but it’s also nice to be able to actually read what you host. Hardly any websites take this into account these days. They just let Google or whoever place ads where an algorithm has decided your eyes are most likely to look at.

My father once told me he could sit down to read a book for hours until he was finished it, nowadays he cannot. I think over time we lose these good skills via technology supposedly making our lives easier. To sit and read and not be distracted sounds like a skill to me, a skill that takes time to hone down. When you don’t practise a skill you end up losing it over time which is extremely important to recognise.

Now I sit, writing this on a phone, because I suffer from the problem of distractions. My mind is whizzing, constantly thinking, constantly distracted. The ADHD doesn’t help matters too. That’s how we got here, where do we go from here?

I think personally I will work on cutting out notifications as much as necessary, forcing myself to stop scrolling etc. Its hard at the start but over time if you stick to it it gets easier. Sounds a lot like an addiction because it is. The easy fix you get from being the n year old scrooler keeps you hooked on destroying your life. In the ancient world we never found things out via something magically appearing in front of us.

Mindfulness Meditation may also be a good thing to practise. I find it helps me feel in the moment and undoes the knot inside of me that is everything my mind tells me I should care about. In reality when you step back and take everything in as it is you realise it’s not all as bad as it seems and actually whatever position you may be in is pretty good compared to what your mind tells you it is. I’m not sure if your mind is trying to protect something inside of you such as your ego but it is definitely quite interesting to me and I want to explore it more and think everyone should at least give it a try.

You know, Uncle Ted may have had a point. He may have went to extreme lengths to prove that point but there was something to it. Technology, I feel, is slowly ruining our lives. Technology is also something good but we need to learn how to strike the balance of good and bad. We need to be able to say enough is enough and recognise within ourselves when that time comes or else it spirals out of control and we become hooked to the easy fixes.