The inability to remain still

My alarm goes off, and as soon as I turn it off I reach for my smartphone. I’m waiting in line, or in the car, and I instinctively reach for the glowing supercomputer inside my pocket. I’m going out on a run, and I put in some earbuds to keep me entertained. All of these behaviors seem very passive and commonplace, but represent a greater issue for myself and many others- the inability to remain alone with one’s thoughts. As Cal Newport puts eloquently,

Humans are not wired to be constantly wired”.

Modern society has reached a point where boredom has become optional, and it has somehow become undesirable to not be constantly receiving some sort of input or stimulus. What I find curious is that choosing not to be, or reducing time on social media isn’t as socially acceptable or common as something like say, veganism of vegetarianism.

Is the process of digital intentionality and caring about what you consume (albeit not in a physical manifestation) any different than veganism or vegetarianism? I care about what I consume, therefore I make a choice to include or abstain from certain things– is that something to be so ashamed of?

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May 14, 2021