“I’d read enough blog posts and magazine articles and books about how the internet makes us lonely, or stupid, or lonely and stupid, that I’d begun to believe them. I wanted to figure out what the internet was “doing to me,” so I could fight back.”
Surprisingly, it doesn’t work:
“As it turned out, a dozen letters a week could prove to be as overwhelming as a hundred emails a day. And that was the way it went in most aspects of my life. A good book took motivation to read, whether I had the internet as an alternative or not. Leaving the house to hang out with people took just as much courage as it ever did.
By late 2012, I’d learned how to make a new style of wrong choices off the internet. I abandoned my positive offline habits, and discovered new offline vices. Instead of taking boredom and lack of stimulation and turning them into learning and creativity, I turned toward passive consumption and social retreat.”
This story is a great example of how a few blinded ideologists can distort our perception. Whether they sustain that the web is the ultimate evil or our last hope for salvation, we have to understand this: Their shrill voices are overrepresented in the media, simply because they are being quoted by anybody who needs an “expert” to support his case. Any case, really. But media exposure ≠ truth.
From a personal sovereignty perspective, this is a good lesson: We all should remember to do some good research before jumping to conclusions. Our own research, specifically.1
As for the web, I’d say it’s a task for each of us to learn how to use it wisely and in a self-directed manner. In recent months, I have made great experiences with blocking web access for several hours a day, especially in the morning. This allows me to focus on more important matters when starting the day.
Currently, I will normally be offline from 11pm to 11am, and then some hours during the day as well. SelfControl.app helps with this. As does living without a smartphone, as Milo correctly pointed out to me in Oslo.
Cutting it off altogether? No way! From the conclusions of the article quoted above:
But the internet isn’t an individual pursuit, it’s something we do with each other. The internet is where people are.
Well said. And that’s by far the best reason to be here.
- Also, a great reminder that life is seldom black-and-white. It’s the shades of grey that matter, not just in dubious bestselling book titles! [↩]