The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free” – Nassim Taleb.
A bit extreme, but he has a point. My 19 year old brother lives with a friend, and they play this smartphone game called Clash Royale for most of the day. While they’re playing it they put Netflix shows in the background. They’re obviously not fully paying attention to the show, yet it still makes them feel some kind of comfort.
A good friend of mine is a very capable musician (he was offered a well paying touring gig at one point)- yet he works at a low-end job he has no passion for and spends his nights playing video games on his computer with his girlfriend. All night, every night.
It wouldn’t even be that difficult for him to escape the 9–5 and become a full-time, musician. But his current lifestyle doesn’t allow it.
During my teenage years I played World of Warcraft for four hours or more per day. I didn’t really enjoy it for the most part, but it was a distraction from my pain.
And that’s what I think it is. The internet, social media, Netflix Bingeing, Video Games, they all give us an escape into another world. A virtual reality where our problems aren’t problems.
But, when we spend too much time in those virtual realities, our real-life problems only get worse. We make a habit of avoiding our very real pain, but the more we avoid our pain, the worse it gets.
The more my friend plays video games, the more it weighs on him that he’s working a crappy job and not even trying to go for the life he wants. The more my brother plays video games the more it weighs on him that he’s lacking genuine human connection in his life.
The problem with our society today is that we’ve normalized a lifestyle in which we avoid reality.