Hello world - digital detox 4

 
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I’m at the end of January’s digital detox. It’s not been so easy, surprise, surprise!

Facebook detox

I’ve stuck to the ‘no Facebook’ rule, that's been the hardest and I confess to having a little peek in the last two days (massive anti-climax, by the way). 

I’ve missed the certain aspects of Facebook. One friend had an accident, another a big operation and there was a memorial for good friend, all of them in different countries to me. I'm sure there was happy news too! I also missed the quality discussions and being pointed in the direction of interesting articles and happenings. I even missed some of the ‘laugh out loud’ funny stuff that appears on FB.

But there is a lot of padding around this quality stuff. I've not missed the padding. 

It’s made me want to think about what I share on Facebook, is it really worth a share? It’s called Facebook for a reason, you are really putting this stuff in people’s faces!

What have I gained? Maybe an hour or more a day? It’s been much easier to concentrate when working on the computer. I notice that in terms of distraction FB is the ‘gateway drug’, it’s pretty innocent, just to have a quick look. But then you are down the rabbit hole of internet prapanca! And get completely lost, awareness kicks in maybe half an hour later.

Prapanca?

Its a Buddhist term, Andrew Olendkzi explains it like this - 

This term is used to describe the tendency of the mind to 1) spread out from and elaborate upon any sense object that arises in experience, smothering it with wave after wave of mental elaboration, 2) most of which is illusory, repetitive, and even obsessive, 3) which effectively blocks any sort of mental calm or clarity of mind.

You can read his whole article on prapanca here. 

The new facebook plan –

I'll try to maintain a once-a-day facebook habit and be more aware that what I post is literally thrust in other people’s faces. I won’t put the app back on my phone, and I'll put my book in my bag for commutes. 

Online news detox

I’ve not missed this, in fact I think my mood is better for not seeing the news in a series of attention grabbing headlines. I have this idea that it is important to 'keep up with the news' when in fact, after 35 years of reading the news, in papers and online, and listening to it on the radio, my understanding of ‘current’ affairs and how we got to where we are now, is pretty much zero, no understanding at all.

I’ve just read Naomi Klein’s ‘No is not enough’ and have been watching a great 10-part series on the Vietnam War and these seem to be far better ways of having a hope in hell of trying to understand what's going on in the world. 

Klein quotes Howard Zinn as saying –

‘History is important. If you don’t know history, it’s as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can tell you anything, and you have no way of checking up on it.'

I really don't know my history, and I would like to. 

The new news plan –

Read books, long books. Over the last years I had really noticed my capacity to read anything in depth had really diminished. I could skim read. But I couldn't really read. I've have made an attempt the last year or so to read more, and the last month I read a lot more. 

Conclusion

The internet is amazing and it's really hard to be intentional about it, so as not to fall down the prapanca worm holes, but it's worth trying.