Unplugging From the Internet Nearly Destroyed Me

Most days, I am tethered to my phone. I walk around gorging myself on news from my mobile devices, constantly absorbing information, soaking in stories without satiation or satisfaction. I am bombarded by alerts and notifications, retweets and likes and faves. I’ve been on Twitter pretty much continuously for seven whole years, and the algorithm of virality and in-case-you-missed-its has all but replaced the chemical and emotional signals in my brain. My anxiety mounts with each passing day, and even in my sleep—which is of course bracketed by Twitter browsing sessions—I have recurring nightmares about getting ratioed. My fingers burn from touch-screen use, my eyesight is strained, my spine is slowly changing shape to accommodate my hunched-over poring. I am becoming post-human, in the crappiest and least-cool way possible.

That is, until last night, when I decided to do something about it. Inspired by a slew of stories on the virtues of “unplugging,” I decided: Hey, wait, I can do that! But I didn’t want to just replicate the New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo’s two months of totally not unplugging. No, I can do better, I thought. I called my editors first before making my fateful decision, and dropped my final pin to my wife. I literally unplugged every single electric device in my hotel room.

I smashed my cell phone with a dress shoe, melted the pieces with a hair dryer, stowed the pieces away in a military-grade Faraday bag, and then buried it in a shoebox under a floorboard. As I meditated in total darkness above the broken corpse of my former mobile device, I felt my digital self fade into the wind with the vapor of silicon. I took a deep breath. This was freedom.

And freedom looked good on me, almost instantaneously. Just an hour off the grid I felt less anxious. Released from my miserable existence of retweet farming, I felt my anxiety melting away. An hour into my sojourn, my eyes began to adjust to the dark like a cat’s, and I felt the strength of my senses amplify. Two hours in, I picked up a glass and accidentally crushed it with newfound strength. Alarmed, I ran to the bathroom mirror to examine myself. The visage was almost unrecognizable. Before me stood a perfected version of myself: taller, skin cleared, teeth straight, muscles rippling beneath my shirt like windblown waves over water. I prowled my …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Technology

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