Our Symbiosis with the Interwebs

Our friend Monster made an excellent comment a few weeks back: “distraction and impulse reward is endemic to our symbiosis with the interwebs”.

How true this is.

We have a symbiotic relationship with technology. So much so, that I feel like we are psychologically dependent on it.

How many times have you been in a situation when you are waiting on somebody or something and you don’t have a TV or smart phone to keep you entertained? Out of those times, how many times have you been ok with having no distractions?

Those times are very rare for me. I default to irritation if I don’t have technology to keep me entertained.

I would like to change that.

I have mentioned this problem before. And a week before that, I made a post about the opposite problem. Of course, I turned to mindfulness for an answer to both.

Check out point number 5 from Mindfulness in Plain English’s chapter on Meditation in Everyday Life.

“The concept of wasted time does not exist for a serious meditator. Little dead spaces during your day can be turned to profit. Every spare moment can be used for meditation. Sitting anxiously in the dentist’s office, meditate on your anxiety. Feeling irritated while standing in a line at the bank, meditate on irritation. Bored, twiddling you thumbs at the bus stop, meditate on boredom. Try to stay alert and aware throughout the day. Be mindful of exactly what is taking place right now, even if it is tedious drudgery. Take advantage of moments when you are alone. Take advantage of activities that are largely mechanical. Use every spare second to be mindful. Use all the moments you can.”

You need no tools to practice mindfulness. You only need your awareness. And that is the one thing that technology can take away from you.

So, next time while I am waiting in a line, I will try to rely on my awareness instead of my smart phone.

Hopefully, mindfulness can give me a more healthy relationship with technology.

One comment

  1. Salamander

    “distraction and impulse reward is endemic to our symbiosis with the interwebs”

    I came to read this post on an impulse to reward myself for completing ‘some amount’ of work.

    The concept of wasted time does not exist for a serious meditator. Little dead spaces during your day can be turned to profit

    Absolutely. I love spacing out and watching water run into a storm drain (pondering flow mechanics), or the way light is refracted as it passes through a window, etc. Little things to remind me that reality is not solely the domain of the human condition. Its help keeps me grounded (sane) when I remember that Earth and the other planets go around the Sun, which in turn, orbits the galaxy.

    The nature of physical reality is impossibly large and complex, yet it all feels like it makes sense as I watch storm runoff twist and turn down the drain. In other words, when I try to quantify the universe, I’m often baffled. When I let it all go and simply realize that the universe exists (from quarks to quasars), I’m at peace, if only for a brief moment.

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