December 2017 - ?

previous archive

December 4. Three old Ask Reddit threads on the same subject. This fascinates me because I have low intuitive intelligence and I'm envious.

Have you ever had a gut feeling that something was bad so you left, only to find out that something bad actually did happen?

Have you ever had a "something isn't right" feeling, and you were right?

What's the craziest gut feeling you have ever had that actually became true?

December 8. When I was in high school and college, back in the 1980's, I don't think I even once heard the words "social anxiety". I mean it existed, but it wasn't enough of a problem that ordinary people gave it a name. Now it's everywhere, and I don't think it's limited to the millennial generation, because I've got it too, and worse than when I was younger. So where does it come from?

Yesterday, cog-boosted by cannabis, I wrote this: "Does the internet cause anxiety by normalizing a socially easier simworld?" In more words: The internet is an unprecedented global artificial world (I call it Internesia) in which social behavior has looser rules and less serious consequences than the world of modern society. If you're at a job interview, or at a party, or even just going to the store, the rules are tighter and the stakes are higher than when you're goofing off anonymously in some comment thread.

So what happens to someone who spends more time on the internet than out in society? The easier world becomes the new baseline, and what used to be the normal world now feels difficult and frightening. As the social internet grows, this happens to more and more people.

December 11. Continuing on the subject of antisocial media, we're all in a war for attention, and the deep ancestral context is that we're sitting around a campfire with friends and family, and the attention you get from other people is what makes you feel valuable and real.

The digital campfire seems much improved. You can share more exciting stuff, faster, to more people, anywhere. But this bandwidth is bottlenecked by the same human biology. The dizzying spectacle becomes the new baseline, and we're no happier. The medium is infested with parasitic robots, so less human attention gets through to actual humans, who have some sense of the quantity of attention they're getting, but no sense of the quality.

Even if you get face to face with people, you're competing with their phones -- and they're competing with yours -- because what's on the phone really is more interesting.

I'm not sure how we'll get out of this trap as a society, but as an individual, you get out of it through a commitment to going into boredom and out the other side. I just read this in an email: "It's crazy that when I am not on my computer, I find myself doing creative projects out of boredom. I think that's how it is supposed to work!"

And another line from my weed journal: "When you burn out looking for beauty in beautiful things, look for beauty in ugly things."