Solitude and the Digital World

The main commodity in the digital world is attention. Attention is the new gold. We are trapped in the rhythm of habitual checking; our smartphones almost like our lovers, they go everywhere with us.

Fear Of Missing Out (or FOMO as the generation calls it) runs deep in our primal ancestry. We are programmed to seek social connection and approval to survive and reproduce.

“Man is by nature a social animal” – Aristotle

Social media apps target our primal needs for acceptance and reproduction. Tinder, Instagram and Bumble? Their indifferent to the new way to meet “hot Asian babes near your location” are nowadays. These apps do need one thing. And that, folks, is your attention. As I said before, attention is the new gold.

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” ― Blaise Pascal

These things called “likes”, they were created by Facebook’s persuasive technology department. Their mission is simple, program the minds of users to get attention, which is capitalised for digits in a bank account. Now that Facebook runs WhatsApp I wonder where my data goes, but I guess the NSA isn’t too worried about my sense of humour.

Like the same departments that conducted the first LSD experiments on soldiers, social media companies aim to addict the mind with unnecessary noise. We must look intrinsically to find balance. As Timothy Leary said, “Turn on, tune in, drop out”. It is the daily watering of the seed with positivity that leads to a tree of beauty. Jocko Willink wisely says “there’s always some good in the bad”.

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” — Bruce Lee

Solitude

Solitude is the experience of being free of external noise. Endless scrolling, world-ending news and dysfunctional ringtones strip way our solitude and creativity. A mind that is free from the distracting inputs of the external world is a mind that can think freely and escape the bonds of mediocrity.

“Be alone, that is when ideas are born.” – Nikola Tesla

When our internal or external world gets too loud the easiest escape is our smartphones. Think back: when’s the last time you were alone with your thoughts? We must regain our inner voice to save this generation from climate change, politics and war as your inner voice is a frequency for change.

The solution is simple: It’s called digital minimalism. This is a philosophy that I’ve been practising for a couple of months now. My social media and impulsive cell phone use have declined dramatically and as a result, my thoughts have improved and habits are cultivated a little bit more each day.

“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Too many distractions destabilise the mind from deep focus. Your number one distraction? You guessed it. It’s your phone that distracts you. The constant task switching can hinder productivity as you will be taken out of the flow state, instead for a state of distracted consciousness. Each time you enter this state of flow you are able to push past your cognitive ability.

Once you can find your inner voice you can find your Balance. Sow Balance and reap a destiny. We were gifted god-like technology without an instructional manual. Find a deep focus in your tasks with the help of technology. These devices should be used mindfully and balance should be cultivated at all times.

Leaving optional technology behind I’ve noticed I can get into a state of flow and balance more easily. Habits of articulation such as writing, speaking and listening are my guiding light. Like the wisdom from a mother, listen and follow. Eventually, balance will be found.

My current digital minimalism lifestyle empowers my goals. My mission of being a life long learner is cultivated through apps such as Evernote (for writing), Audible (for audiobooks), Castbox (for podcasts), YouTube (for curiosity), WhatApp (for my friends, family and especially my girlfriend) and Maps (when I’m lost).

The cell phone finds its way to the bottom of the bag. A book or a view fills my mind with gratitude and balance.

That’s digital minimalism to me. What does it mean to you?

Summary

  • Balance. Oh, Balance.
  • Quit optional technology.
  • Focus on technology that empowers your soul.
  • Find flow every day.

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