Tech Addiction vs. Drug Addiction
I truly believe that no art is great without some form of suffering - through love, or less commonly, through the creator’s personal demons. It’s no secret that artists are attracted to substances to stimulate or inspire them to create beautiful or powerful things. It just so happens that these things can be addictive or destructive.
Take heroin (don't actually TAKE heroin). Would our music scene have evolved into what it has become without the Dragon? No one can say for sure the inspiration but look at the list of users who are credited with major musical shifts: Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin - and that's not even counting Keith Richards or the "famous" addicts. Opium, heroin’s little brother, was favoured by Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Alcohol claimed the attention of Beethoven, Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Bukowski, among so many others that battled the bottle. Aldous Huxley, Edgar Allen Poe, Dostoevsky, Steinbeck, Raymond Chandler, and the list goes on and on of creative people and their addiction to some form of licentious mind-enhancing or altering substances. (I don’t count cocaine, because the rich and famous notoriously get addicted to it and you don’t have to be a genius, or even very smart to be rich and famous.)
What has this to do with the usual Folk Rebellion posts? Hear me out. I also believe that Internet addiction is a very real thing. The apocalypse will be upon us and just as sure as there will be addicts languishing in the streets (as there are now), there will be people clicking ‘refresh’ - as there are now. Does that not scare you? It’s one thing to be expecting an email regarding a new job, and another entirely to see how many friends clicked that Thumbs Up button on your latest witticism. A recently coined term, FOMO (which, tied with YOLO, is a new low for language) stands for Fear of Missing Out. While checking in to see if you’ve missed anything, you’re missing out on everything.
Doesn’t that seem asinine?
This will sound crazy, but given the choice, I’d rather heroin. At least it stimulates (or appears to stimulate) the think part of your brain. Truth be told through these vices, the world has been given some of its most creative works. “Refresh”, ironically, makes your mind stale, limits and stifles creativity, and seems to be the only addiction out there that doesn’t have an upside.
Refresh by walking your dog, not your mouse.
So how to defeat this addiction, at least for a few hours a day?
There’s a beautifully simple, free app called Self Control that allows you to use the internet but block out those sites that are distracting at least, and destructive at worst. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed, and that weird porn site that you keep telling your friends is European art house stuff, you dirty little liar.
You can even block your email servers, and set hours in the day (for example, mine is 9am till 4pm) so you can get out and do something.
Install this baby, and you suddenly have a typewriter, or a video camera, or an easel, without any of your usual temptations. Maybe you’ll work. Maybe you’ll decide now is not the time because your creative juices aren’t flowing, and power down. Either of these options are better than aimlessly trawling Pinterest. It’s better than methadone.