A Dangerous Precedent
Man has become the tool of it’s tools.
Henry David Thoreau
The world is changing rapidly before our eyes. The digitation of our economy has been expedited by the Coronavirus and our technology is doubling at a pace that far exceeds our body's ability to deal with it.
We have supercomputers in our pockets, information at our fingertips, and thousands of way’s to distract ourselves just one click away. Think about how many times a day you cycle through your favorite apps. Instagram, Telegram, Youtube, Whatsapp, and Twitter when all else fails.
If you have watched the Social Dilemma then you know that this is no accident. These devices have been curated to get us addicted to our phones through the release of the neurotransmitter Dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. Our brains are designed to release dopamine when we do something that meets a survival need, like eating or having sex. Countless studies have shown that phone activity causes the release of dopamine in our brains, making us feel aroused, motivated, and happy.
Sounds great right? Wrong. Too much of anything is a bad thing, and too much Dopamine is a really bad thing. When asked a question about his involvement in exploiting consumer behavior, former Vice President of User Growth at Facebook, Chamath Palihapitiya said “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works,” he explained. In Palihapitiya’s talk, he highlighted something most of us know but few really appreciate: smartphones and the social media platforms they support are turning us into bonafide addicts. While it’s easy to dismiss this claim as hyperbole, platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram leverage the very same neural circuitry used by slot machines and cocaine to keep us using their products as much as possible.
Think about the feeling you get when you leave your phone somewhere, or how your leg buzzes even when the phone is no longer in your pocket! This isn’t the phone's fault though, it’s our evolutionary need to be social that’s the culprit. Though humans have evolved to be social — a key feature to our success as a species — the social structures in which we thrive tend to contain about 150 individuals. This number is orders of magnitude smaller than the 2 billion potential connections we carry around in our pockets today.
We aren’t made for this level of connection and it’s becoming more and more evident. Studies are beginning to show links between smartphone usage and increased levels of anxiety and depression, poor sleep quality, and increased risk of car injury or death. Many of us wish we spent less time on our phones but find it incredibly difficult to disconnect.
Have you ever found yourself checking your phone for no reason? If you said yes, then you are a victim of dopamine addiction.
This addiction is not only disrupting our brain activity but is also stealing our most valuable resource, time. Think about how many times you check your phone at work, at dinner with your family, or the most dangerous place your car.
We are all victims of it and it can have deeper effects than you realize. The time you spend consuming other people’s content is time you could spend creating your own. Watching how other people live their lives is the best way to waste yours.
Social media is not only addicting but it is also programming the way we think. From who to vote for, to what we should think about moral issues, social media companies are influencing us towards how they view the world.
Social media companies do not have to abide by the first amendment. The First Amendment or Free Speech as most of us know it is a fundamental human right. It allows society to evolve and progress and is essential to change. Without free speech America wouldn’t even exist today, yet these social media companies are restricting it according to their guidelines.
Human rights activist Peter Tatchell states that going against people who have different views and challenging them is the best way to move forward. “Freedom of speech is one of the most precious and important human rights. A free society depends on the free exchange of ideas. Nearly all ideas are capable of giving offence to someone. Many of the most important, profound ideas in human history, such as those of Galileo Galilei and Charles Darwin, caused great religious offence in their time.”
As you can see social media companies today are modern day religions who are advocating a pay to play system that undermines our most basic human rights, being able to say what we want!
The dangerous combination of addictive programming and corporate censorship is driving us further and further away from what makes America great, and is especially dangerous to our youth.
Schools are now breeding grounds for politically correct ideologies and they are leaving no room for discussion. Our kids are being taught what to think, not how to think. If their is no room for discussion what makes us any different than China?
It’s not our children’s responsibility to regulate their time spent online. They don’t know any better. It is up to us as parents to educate our children on the dangers of too much time inside, fake food, social media, and official narratives that can’t be questioned.
It’s time we stopped outsourcing our worldview to our phones, social media, and our government. The time has come to start taking full responsibility for what we think, eat, and do.
It’s time to put the phone down and go outside, move, and think about what we truly want in life. If it’s servitude than we are definitely on the right path, but if it’s freedom you want, then your gonna have to do so work!
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