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aries1988 : distraction   1

Andrew Sullivan: My Distraction Sickness — and Yours

At your desk at work, or at home on your laptop, you disappeared down a rabbit hole of links and resurfaced minutes (or hours) later to reencounter the world. But the smartphone then went and made the rabbit hole portable, inviting us to get lost in it anywhere, at any time, whatever else we might be doing. Information soon penetrated every waking moment of our lives.

My breathing slowed. My brain settled. My body became much more available to me. I could feel it digesting and sniffing, itching and pulsating. It was if my brain were moving away from the abstract and the distant toward the tangible and the near.

Remember, my friend Sam Harris, an atheist meditator, had told me before I left, if you’re suffering, you’re thinking.

If you’re watching a football game with your son while also texting a friend, you’re not fully with your child — and he knows it. Truly being with another person means being experientially with them, picking up countless tiny signals from the eyes and voice and body language and context, and reacting, often unconsciously, to every nuance. These are our deepest social skills, which have been honed through the aeons. They are what make us distinctively human.

in a controlled and sequestered world that exists largely free of the sudden eruptions or encumbrances of actual human interaction.

The reason we live in a culture increasingly without faith is not because science has somehow disproved the unprovable, but because the white noise of secularism has removed the very stillness in which it might endure or be reborn.

From the moment I entered a church in my childhood, I understood that this place was different because it was so quiet.

this silence demarcated what we once understood as the sacred, marking a space beyond the secular world of noise and business and shopping.

The only place like it was the library, and the silence there also pointed to something beyond it — to the learning that required time and patience, to the pursuit of truth that left practical life behind.

Has our enslavement to dopamine — to the instant hits of validation that come with a well-crafted tweet or Snapchat streak — made us happier?

just as modern street lighting has slowly blotted the stars from the visible skies, so too have cars and planes and factories and flickering digital screens combined to rob us of a silence that was previously regarded as integral to the health of the human imagination.
technology  culture  internet  meditation  distraction  essay  attention  habit  reading  information  brain  silence  thinking  family  today 
september 2016 by aries1988

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