Beyond knowledge, the world needs wisdom.
To get there, people need to get off the internet.
The solution to the technology/addiction crisis is to spend more time on non-digital activities: photography, art, creativity, innovation. These are the touchstones of society and they’re being destroyed by the impact of computers (devices + software) on our minds and souls. We need to return to our true, wild nature.
We need to resist the pleasure of technology, the way it drops our mind, like a drug, into a lower orbit of non-critical thinking.
We need, as a society, to pop up for air. It’s not just that we need to read more and write more and create more. We need integrity. We need to think more about how we’re doing these things. We need longhand scribbles in journals, on paper. Poetry written in wilderness, in dive bars. IRL. Offline. And we need novels. Essays. We need to challenge ourselves. To feel. “Likes” and “shares” mean nothing. They don’t push us. They’re engines of good stuff’s opposite: Clickbait. “Viral.” Shareable. Sound bites. Turds on the doorsteps of the palaces built by our ancestors: War and Peace. Song of Solomon. One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Too many people (billions! billions!) are wasting their lives on one of three nearly-identical pseudo-real video games that we call Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.
Although I believe that each of these three companies will be dead or bought in the coming years, they’ve already had a powerful, widespread and lasting impact on individuals and society. So much wasted creative capacity - all for a never-ending, non-winnable game: the feed.
If you’re not fighting for more offline time, you’re accepting a reality in which humans plunge into deeper dependence on an ever-shrinking number of technology platforms that control us - the experiences and thoughts we have - far more than we’re willing to admit. It makes us all the same, which we’re not.
And the saddest part of all is that we’re playing against one another. We can form alliances and teams, but we’re always, fundamentally, alone on these platforms. And there’s cheating. Lots of it. That’s an important thing to remember about these games, that you can pay to get ahead. Money moves people (and non-people, like corporations) forward faster in a convoluted set of ways that both are and are not, officially and unofficially, sponsored and managed by the platforms themselves. That’s the business model. These aren’t social networks, they’re ad platforms. A massive, several-hundred-billion-dollar industry with only three players.
And in the last decade, that fungus of an industry ate the journalism industry. And now, it looks like it’s spitting it back out.
We worship at the feet of this fungus. We understand the mechanics of the eyeball profit machine, but we can’t resist it, the 1-2-3 punch that lures us in, pimps out our personal information, and sells us shit we don’t need.
The enemy of the people lives in Silicon Valley, wears a hoodie. He is afraid. Crying. Sometimes just on the inside, but sometimes out loud. The howl of a lost soul, carrying the weight of the world.
The fungus is dressed-up like a little old woman, walking you through a dark patch of woods. You see green in her eyes and you want to get away. “Stay!” she screams. “Don’t go! I’m your past and your future, your only chance at happiness. Don’t be lonely. Don’t miss out. Stay. We love you.” And she’s carrying, in her arms, a basket full of your photos. Memories. Not actually, but it’s evidence. And the evidence is beautiful.
What soul would burn it?