But you know what we get from digital technology? Dopamine. The same neurotransmitter that’s released when a person does cocaine. So, it feels good in the moment — let’s not kid ourselves — but where does it get us?
It gets us to the point of addiction, to where it’s late at night and we’re clicking various apps over and over again, looking for new news. We all know we’ve been there — even those of us who are older, who should know better, who meditate or at least try to. No one is immune.
The thing that worries me the most is that I don’t see this getting better anytime soon. In fact, I think it’s only getting worse, which is why we desperately need to be talking about this. As a community, as a culture, we’re in need of an intervention.
Because we all know where things are headed, but it doesn’t need to be this way.
Because of something called neuroplasticity, our brains are designed to adapt to the environment. Our brains get better at anything we do a lot. So if we’re on the Internet perpetually, our brains start to crave that kind of stimulation all the time. But we can also train our brains to do the opposite: To be present with ourselves and with others, to think more deeply, to be self-reflective, to live in the moment.
To really live in the moment.
It may not always seem like it matters that much, whether we’re sitting with someone and actually present versus mainlining URLs — but it does. All of this online behavior is changing our brains and making it harder for us to pay attention, to follow through on long-term projects, to become the people we want to become.
So I, for one, want to have this conversation. Are you with me?
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