By now, you know my feelings about the overuse and addictive characteristics of social media, particularly as it hampers one’s interest in human to human communication and experiencing the natural environment. I offer Christina Farr’s article in the hopes it will help those of you trying to detox and return to a more serene, content and manageable life. As a society, we do have the ability to take back our lives. Have you noticed a recent wave of people saying, “Enough is enough” and unplugging to stop the progression of anxiety, depression, chaos and confusion that social media has introduced into their lives?
While Christina offers her personal experience of attending a formal camp to unplug, you can reduce stress and create a more rich and satisfying life by asking yourself a few introspective questions like:
What is truly important to me? Personal time with friends and loved ones, or how many likes I’ve received?
If I had one day left on this planet, what would I do — would I post on social media or respond to that inner nudge to do something I always wanted to do like mountain climb or learn to play a musical instrument? What have I always wanted to do but spent my hours on social media instead?
How do I feel inside when taking a walk in nature, looking at someone in the eye and seeing their smile versus hearing constant pings on my device?
Is my time better spent helping someone through volunteer work or trying to impress and compete with the virtual lives of others?
What makes me feel content? What makes me feel anxious or depressed?
Make a list if you need to. Let it look you squarely in the eye and you’ll know what you need to do to truly live a meaningful life. Here’s how Christina handled her social media addiction:
Social media detox: Christina Farr quits Instagram, Facebook
Christina Farr used to spend 5 hours a week posting and interacting with friends on Instagram. She quit cold this summer, and her life changed dramatically for the better.
Can you see the number 11 as an upwards arrow pointing to ascension and light, as perhaps global leaders have throughout the years? Any idea why the major hostilities of World War I were first ended in 1918 at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, or why Israel and Egypt signed the first Israel and Arab agreement for peace in 24 years — on 11–11 in 1973? What is the significance of the number 11? Just coincidence you say? Numerology begs to differ.
In numerology, the esteemed master number 11 symbolizes immense physical and mental power. According to Numerology.com, 11 has the potential of “pushing the limitations of the human experience into the stratosphere of the highest spiritual perception; it is the link between darkness and light, ignorance and enlightenment.”
Eleven is associated with calmly handling complex situations, steadiness, adaptability, a sense of order, mature thinking, understanding others and their problems, and doing everything possible to create a feeling of goodness. Other qualities associated with the number 11 are:
Higher spiritual insight
Loving and seeking freedom
Immense ability to see others more deeply
Can you envision the number 11 as two candles — the first one showing the brighter side of life and helping others, the second candle as the receiver of light?
Every now and then my passion for gardening and appreciating nature is punctuated by technology’s increasing thirst to control our lives. To me, these cold and calculating ways are the antithesis to nature’s infinite beauty and serenity. That is why this topic pops up on my blog now and then (no pun intended).
I bumped into an old friend recently who said her eldest child is retired (at age 35). After making and investing his millions as a technological entrepreneur, he and his wife now live in an Airstream, traveling cross-country to hike and explore nature’s magnificence. “He meditates quite a bit,” she added.
This gave me hope that those so addicted to devices will realize the hours they’ve wasted not living real life, or freedoms they’ve willingly discarded by allowing technology to think for them.
My concerns about the ethical crises in technology were confirmed by best-selling author Yuval Noah Harari, and executive director of the Center for Humane Technology, Tristan Harris who explained how people, corporations and governments are using technology to hack human beings. (Harris previously studied the ethics of human persuasion at Google.)
In their When Tech Knows You Better than You Know Yourself interview, these philosophers raised the question: “Whose best interests should technology be serving — individuals or corporations? Should apps be as successful (and profitable) as possible which equates to addiction, loneliness, alienation, social comparison…”
“There’s a reason why solitary confinement is the worst punishment we give human beings. And we have technology that’s basically maximizing isolation because it needs to maximize the time we stay on the screen,”Harris said.
Think about that. Really let it sink in. So many have imprisoned themselves with technology. Remember, a prior post on my friend whose brother is addicted to gaming and barely leaves his room anymore?
Instead, I discuss the Tao and hand drum with friends, attend Tai Chi classes, concerts, live theatre and art exhibits. At home I’m nurturing flower and veggie gardens while playing with my beloved border collie or practicing Qigong. Experimenting in the kitchen and reading a great library book enhance my time. Yes, I love those page turners (literally and otherwise)!
I was thrilled to find Blogtasticfood.com where Nick’s mission is to “post super awesome recipes and get peoples butts in the kitchen.” I love it. Real cooking feels (and tastes) wholesome and nourishing to me. I’d much prefer devoting my time to creating a delicious meal than being consumed by social media, texting or the internet (while eating packaged preservative-laden processed foods). Tactile, personal connections mean more to me than an addictive device.
Frankly, I don’t want Amazon to know right before my light bulbs burn out (so they can sell me more). And I don’t want them to deliver groceries to my door so that I can isolate, and not get any fresh air, exercise, or interaction with my external environment. “Don’t use it, you lose it,” still rings true.
However, as much as it sounds like I detest technology, I don’t. It’s the addictive aspects and loss of privacy and relationships that concern me. I agree with Harari that, “The system in itself can do amazing things for us. We just need to turn it around, that it serves our interests, whatever that is and not the interests of the corporation or the government.” In that regard I can understand Amazon delivering food to an immobile person who lives alone.
To reduce the risks of your personality being hacked, Harari suggests first getting to know yourself better and exploring your choices more deeply. Of course, someone who meditates two hours a day and doesn’t use a smartphone is less likely to be hacked than someone addicted to their device he says. Then join an organization of activists for a more powerful voice in making society more resilient and less able to be hacked.
Harari and Harris emphasize, “They’re (corporation or government) about to get to you—This is the critical moment…So run away, run a little faster.And there are many ways you can run faster, meaning getting to know yourself a bit better. Meditation is one way. And there are hundreds of techniques of meditation, different ways work with different people.
Photo by Dave Clubb on Unsplash
Photo by Ian Scargill on Unsplash
Photo by Ian Scargill on Unsplash
Photo by Ashley Batz on Unsplash
Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash
“You can go to therapy, you can use art, you can use sports, whatever. Whatever works for you. But it’s now becoming much more important than ever before. Protect yourself by getting to know your self.” This sounds perfectly natural to me.
Talk about “fake news,” or shall I say propaganda or better yet, follow the money trail? Situations such as these underscore why I am against letting a computer tell me what to think, rather than making my own observations and decisions. For the record, I am neither Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative. I’m not even in the green party although since I love nature and gardening I suppose I should be. I am simply deeply concerned about what I see happening in my environment, the country, and beyond on our planet.
No need to post photos of Hurricane Florence’s wrath. (She was only rated a Category 4 storm by the way.) They’ll be plenty of devastating photos and stories on the news for days. But, Florence is yet another indicator that climate change cannot be denied through policy. Awareness is the first step to change but if we continually deny the reality of what is happening, are we simply going to be swept away? I suppose Mother Nature will let us know…
The climate use to be rather predictable. At least until what we’ve seen recently. Now, it too has a culture of anything goes. What is going on? Like the bad diet, little exercise and unremitting stress that provoke diabetes, haphazard behaviors and practices are radically affecting our globe.
I feel October coolness in August, August heat and humidity in June. Downpours flooded out July, and April buds bloomed (then froze) in January. These dizzying peculiarities are akin to the human body expressing more and more serious symptoms to get our attention…our care. And sagacious change…for survival.
Across the USA, fire seasons are two months longer than 50 years ago.
“We have to recognize that by some measures, dangerous climate change isn’t some far-off thing we can look to avoid, ” Mann said. “It has arrived.”
Until last year, for example, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) averaged a hurricane hit once every eight years and only in the most northern island of Anegada (which is Spanish for “drowned island” by the way). Yet in 2017, a triplet of hurricanes within two weekspummeled most of the BVI archipelago — first category 5 Hurricane Irma, then category 4 Jose, and finally category 5 Maria.
A year later the BVI is still trying to regroup. Many landowners can’t afford escalating insurance rates and can’t afford to rebuild. Supplies are unavailable for months. Hurricane Maria, by the way, was the deadliest hurricane in Puerto Rico since San Ciriaco in 1899. Think about that — the deadliest hurricane in 119 years. How can these warnings be ignored?
And like diabetes, it’s not just the weather change that affects us. It’s the complications ravaging intricate bodily systems that lead to amputations…stroke…heart disease…blindness…neuropathy…complete kidney failure. But, unlike diabetics, there’s no transplant list for Mother Nature to receive clean air, pure water, or more land.
The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study indicating that many storm-related deaths are from lack of access to medical care weeks and months after the storm. Have you considered the devastating global effects of climate change? Once clean air, water and acreage are eradicated, where will displaced populations go? How much food and water supplies will be lost? How many will be infected with West Nile or Zika viruses when the mosquito infestation multiplies from increased flooded areas?
As with diabetes, ignoring the realities is catastrophic. The only solution is to change our ill ways and practice healthier behavior. Put safeguards into place. Now. Not after our legs have been amputated. Not after the storm blacks out the power grid and its ability to provide proper medical attention, food refrigeration, or AC for that matter. Puerto Rico is the neon warning of what’s to come if we remain unprepared…
Admittedly, I’ve been caught up by global warming. Particularly after enduring a very wet, grey summer and attending Josh Fox’s masterpiece performance of The Truth has Changed.I didn’t want to believe things are as critical as they are. But, it’s not fake news folks. All you have to do is see and feel what is going on outside. There’s more to think about now than do I need a raincoat or sweater today?
To retain my sanity and keep stress levels down, I take “news” (aka usually anxiety-producing biased content) in tidbits (not tweets) — morsels that are still so disturbing I cannot linger long. Excessive hurricanes, fires, flooding; power cuts and flight cancellations due to excessive heat; people rushed to emergency rooms for heat exhaustion and dying from heat stroke — are all happening today. Right now. The reality of worldwide weather changes and what I see in my own environment confirm climate change stories first-hand.
Every day this summer I’ve thanked God for air conditioning. I wasn’t so fortunate in my youth. Residing in a 3rd floor walk-up with no AC, an oscillating fan kept me alive when I couldn’t escape the suffocating city heat — and that was 30 years ago before even hotter temps.
So much is at stake — lives, food, clean water, breathable air, electricity to name a few. Can the grid endure? I wonder about a global outage. We saw Puerto Rico’s plight with no electricity for 11 months…
Brian Petersen, a climate change and planning academic at Northern Arizona University noted in a Guardian article, “It’s only a matter of time until the west is completely insufficiently prepared for climate change. If we really wanted to be prepared we would be doing a lot of different things that we’re not doing.”
Some cities are offering cooling shelters and promising to slash green house gas emissions but is it too little too late? Have we poisoned what nature’s generously given and created our own Hell on earth?
Cities planting more trees to help alleviate the heat are like saying, “Oh Mother Nature, you were right. You knew all along what we needed…yet, taking it for granted we foolishly followed our selfish ways.”
I wonder what your personal experiences have been with climate change, what differences are you noticing in your local environment?