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Sun Jul 12, 2020, 06:19 PM

Andrew Sullivan's Advice for Beating 'Distraction Sickness"

I was sitting in a large meditation hall in a converted novitiate in central Massachusetts when I reached into my pocket for my iPhone. A woman in the front of the room gamely held a basket in front of her, beaming beneficently, like a priest with a collection plate. I duly surrendered my little device, only to feel a sudden pang of panic on my way back to my seat. If it hadnít been for everyone staring at me, I might have turned around immediately and asked for it back. But I didnít. I knew why Iíd come here.

A year before, like many addicts, I had sensed a personal crash coming. For a decade and a half, Iíd been a web obsessive, publishing blog posts multiple times a day, seven days a week, and ultimately corralling a team that curated the web every 20 minutes during peak hours. Each morning began with a full immersion in the stream of internet consciousness and news, jumping from site to site, tweet to tweet, breaking news story to hottest take, scanning countless images and videos, catching up with multiple memes. Throughout the day, Iíd cough up an insight or an argument or a joke about what had just occurred or what was happening right now. And at times, as events took over, Iíd spend weeks manically grabbing every tiny scrap of a developing story in order to fuse them into a narrative in real time. I was in an unending dialogue with readers who were caviling, praising, booing, correcting. My brain had never been so occupied so insistently by so many different subjects and in so public a way for so long.


http://nymag.com/selectall/2016/09/andrew-sullivan-technology-almost-killed-me.html

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Reply Andrew Sullivan's Advice for Beating 'Distraction Sickness" (Original post)
pbmus Jul 2020 OP
The Velveteen Ocelot Jul 2020 #1
misanthrope Jul 2020 #3
The Velveteen Ocelot Jul 2020 #5
pnwest Jul 2020 #6
misanthrope Jul 2020 #2
The Velveteen Ocelot Jul 2020 #4

Response to pbmus (Original post)

Sun Jul 12, 2020, 06:51 PM

1. A thought-provoking essay.

The pandemic is making mediation more attractive and perhaps more possible, even though at the same time we need on-line connections more than ever because they're about all we have.

I like his description of Twitter as "the instant blogging of microthoughts." I'm keeping that.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #1)

Sun Jul 12, 2020, 06:56 PM

3. The first time I heard about Twitter

That was my instant concept of it. "Why would I want that?" I pondered. I saw it as little more than lubrication for the hastening slide into anti-intellectualism, the repulsion of deliberate consideration.

Still haven't ever signed up. No, thanks.

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Response to misanthrope (Reply #3)

Sun Jul 12, 2020, 07:04 PM

5. Yes, it's pretty hard to express a complex thought in a sentence or two.

So now people do consecutive tweets so you have to "unroll" the whole damn thing, which makes it all disjointed and annoying.

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Response to The Velveteen Ocelot (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 12, 2020, 07:24 PM

6. LOL, right?! If you have something to say

thatís considerably longer than 140 characters, maybe Twitterís not the platform for that particular thought! Those 12-tweet-long unrolled posts are ridiculous.

I signed up for twitter basically as a news source, I donít follow any friends, almost never comment. Just follow pundits and news outlets.

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Response to pbmus (Original post)

Sun Jul 12, 2020, 06:54 PM

2. Lunch where the first person to use their phone pays the whole bill

I love that idea.

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Response to misanthrope (Reply #2)

Sun Jul 12, 2020, 07:02 PM

4. When cell phones first became more common, about the early '90s,

a woman who was part of a group of people I sometimes hung out with would answer hers and talk on it any time, even when we were having dinner together. I thought it was so rude and annoying - and it was clear she was doing it to show off how important she was. Now everybody does it all the time, except that they usually text instead of talk, so you see people in groups who aren't talking to each other but just looking at their phones and texting. Weird. I'm old so I guess I don't get it.

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