January 16, 2021•895 words
Infinite power, infinite money, infinite time... they all seem great and all, until you realize the effects that they have on the human brain. Power will turn you into a dictator; money will turn you avaricious, infinite time will make you depressed.
The internet is yet another example, in this case an infinite expanse of information. Using it unstructured is one of the worst things I can do (and am doing) to myself. I am constantly in a state of searching and exploring, finding new, cool stuff, bookmarking it, and moving on (<-- Shu Omi's abbreviated notes on the phenomenon, since I've already linked to the full article in Firefox Focus (part one) - 7 and yes I will eventually get around to writing the next part). I couldn't tell you any concrete concepts that I've studied or subjects that I've learned about from my internet travels over the past few months, and the problem there is scattered attention.
Because there is so much for me to look at, constantly, my attention span has gotten worse - to the point that I notice it often - and I've gotten very little done. I have a hard time committing to reading books because I need to feel like I'm busy at all moments. Settling down and reading is the exact antithesis of """being busy""".
Sure, I'm exploring and finding out about new things. I actually think that's making the problem worse: constantly getting dopamine (that's probably neurologically misguided but you get what I mean) from clicking new links and getting novel stimulation reinforces scattered thoughts and de-inforces(?) focused, deliberate work on those things that are less new but that I care about so much more. Great, I found things like Arweave and mymind, but are those things really worth losing huge chunks of my life?
"Resources" for me just means "cool site but I won't ever use it, I'll just go store it away in a folder and let that sit for the rest of my life". I have a fairly large store of resources on most of the subjects that I want to learn more about, such as data science, web development, painting, digital media/design, pure math, linguistics, and on, and on, and on... but I don't use any of those resources. Instead, I simply seek out more. Thus, I have spent (cumulatively) days on the internet without learning or focusing on any of the things that I really want to learn. Instead, I get the impression of knowledge from link aggregators and various blogs, despite the fact that I'm missing out on their true depth because of my lack of experience/understanding.
It's far easier to read than it is to think. I can't trust myself to resist, especially now that I have this miniscule attention span, so I'm going to have to continue to create rules and schedules for myself to avoid this.
Sort of related thing that I want to write while I'm thinking about it: I've been thinking about using the iOS Shortcuts app to automate my time blocking. I can create a shortcut with templates (e.g. "school from 9 to 11:30", "break from 11:30 to 12:30" - all the events that happen repeatedly throughout my life) and just run it the night before to set up my schedule for the day. Adding options like "how much writing time do you want?" and "do you have a lot of work to do?" will make it even more sophisticated and further automate my day.
I think that ultimately, taking decision-making, effort, and ultimately control out of my own hands in the moment is the best way for me to actually do things that I want to do, since it removes as much friction in doing what I'm supposed to as possible, and automating my life is a significant help in that endeavor.
I'm not sure if what I just wrote here makes sense since I'm up 4 hours past when I normally go to bed, but as usual I won't do anything about it.
Finally: I am officially 1/3 of the way through #100days. I'm glad I've been able to keep up the challenge, and I've enjoyed the constant writing practice; though I haven't been doing my best writing, I still feel as though I've evolved, somewhat at least, stylistically. Also, writing my ideas down really forces me to flesh them out.
While I'll admit my writing here is a weird blend of informality, broken (sometimes accidentally) grammar and punctuation rules, and essay-style writing, and is often all around kind of shit, it's fun. All I need to do is start writing and the words spill out, and it's freeing to let my brain work the way it naturally does and not concern myself with stupid shit like making sure I use the em dash instead of the hyphen when there's a break in a sentence - I don't, lmao, the dash is way faster to type - and putting the hyphen between adjective and -ass (it's funnier without it fsr) when I'm using it as a compound modifier (or something like that? I'm a native english speaker so I've never learned the linguistic terms that describe it).
I'm rambling, sorry. It's really late where I am and my brain can't focus on anything past the current sentence. I'll go to bed now.