A not-so-social commentary
Excellent piece, Alex. I found myself nodding along to your points. I can relate to the gym experience. I find it amusing, yet sad, when I look up from a set and see everyone staring at their phones in between sets. Yet I do the same thing! You prompt me to reconsider all the micro-moments in which I pull out my phone to occupy the time.
Love this, Alex!! I think about this a lot too. I intentionally try to minimize time on my phone - both because it takes me away from my experience with the physical world and because it damages the attention and care I show for those around me, especially my partner - but it’s tough. That feeling you described when your phone buzzes and you itch to check it is too real.
One of the only things I’ve found helpful is keeping my phone in a perpetual state of “Do Not Disturb.” Sometimes I miss messages I wish I’d seen immediately, but I also love that I read the messages when I consciously decide it’s a good time instead of allowing my phone to dictate when it’s a good time.
I’m reading Rick Rubin’s “the creative act” right now and a few of the passages that really stuck with me made me want to be on my phone even less. All about how our awareness is the fuel for our creativity - there’s always something new to notice given how the worlds constantly changing but we have to be present to notice it. “When you practice listening with the whole self, you expand the scope of your consciousness to include vast amounts of information otherwise missed.” Considering the moments and experiences I miss when I check out while on my phone felt like such a reality check of all the missed opportunities to learn and connect with the world around me.
Side note: the little voice in the back of my head is like wait! But you learn and connect with people through your phone. Which brings me back to the benefits you alluded to and grounds me in the fact that using our phones can be a good thing when done with intention at the right time and place.
Such a great essay, Alex.
It made me think about how it may not always be the worst thing to let ourselves drift off in our worlds at times: that's no excuse for a lack of empathy.
Bravo, bravo. This piece transformed into something very special Alex. This makes me wonder what the "dumbbell moment" is for others - what metaphorical or literal weight slammed into them forcing them to realize them and the world around them is more responsive to the queues our phones send us instead of the queues life sends us?
Well done, Alex. For seeing. For saying. For publishing. Love the article. To living a more intentional life 🥂
I came across your publication because I was told that I should read others if I want to be read (you don't have to read me, this is just my awkward introduction). Anyway, I absolutely love your existentialist take on this, simply and gorgeously carved out by pure talent and spirit. I appreciate your use of Jungian psychology, and your description of object representation is very accurate, and I appreciate your view on things. I am a philosophical writer as well so maybe you'd like them. From one philosopher to another.
Keep working my friend, don't ever give into the noumena... let it guide your dasein proper. There you will be able to dissect the object representation and all of its warring quaternities.
Valid points, Alex. I have the same difficulties refraining from checking my phone when bored. The only thing that works is to put a distance barrier so it is not easy to reach.
At least we are aware of the problem. Many people don't even think there may be anything wrong with their relationship with internet-connected devices.
First, I'm really glad you're ok. Second, I'm deeply sympathetic to your concerns and you put words to it usefully and thoughtfully. We do collectively need to pay attention to the technocreep and saying it over and over again does make a difference. Third, if you're even capable of getting a 70 lb dumbbell off the rack, much less doing curls or some shit with it, maybe you scare the rest of the people in the gym and that's why they're ignoring you.
Great post my guy. When I was training for my marathon, I switched my Apple Watch for a Garmin and it took me over a month to stop looking at my watch to see my notifications. It’s crazy how our brains have become hardwired to the need to check our devices, like another hit of the needle.
And don’t even get my started on the phantom vibrations...
“I believe in humanity’s ability to clean up its own messes, to overcome the worst parts of our nature by leaning into the best parts.”
Banger of an essay, Alex. You so beautifully took something terrifying (feeling alone in the gym with that horrible accident) and turned it into something hopeful. Like flowers stretching towards the sun, we are all trying to reconnect with that human part of ourselves. I think content like this aids in that process significantly. Thanks for writing!
"It scares me when I think about losing my own humanity."
Ah, this is too real.
But I appreciate your optimistic perspective.
I love the part of democracy that forces us to interact: suits😁😁😁
Half of Californians get all fees free, plus free help from the sheriff, plus free mediation that's 80% successful...
...a motorist cut off my bike and I flew... she refused to give me her insurance information as I sat dazed bleeding from both arms and both legs...
This documentary HOT COFFEE, explains how we've been brainwashed against fighting oppressors... thus I can't find a non attorney to copy slam dunk formulas to make oppressors pay