1.03.2017

So'sh Media Fast - Day 2


The alarm went off at 7 AM, but Joe reset it to 8 AM, and fell back asleep to avoid the Monday morning chaos unfolding in the house. Deborah was prepping for work in the master bathroom. Deborah's son Devon and his girlfriend Gretchen had stayed the weekend and were occupying the guest bathroom so they could hit the road back to Milwaukee by 8. There was no sense in Joe adding to the chaos and further stressing the limited bathroom resources available - it seemed to him like a good microcosmic example of how overpopulation in society taxes limited natural resources  - so instead he mined a few extra ZZZs from dreamland.

The two dogs, Foster the Boston terrier and Maddy the dachshund, were occupying a fraction of the real estate on the bed, illustrating the counterpoint example of how ample resources can be when the population competing for them is small. The dogs were equally disinterested in the morning's human hustle and bustle and slumbered peacefully under the covers beside Joe.

Joe woke again at 7:45 AM and reached for his smart phone on the bedside table, instinctively, though there was no longer a reason to. It was the first Monday of the new year, 2017, and the second day of the fortnight of social media fasting that he'd committed to as one of several new year's resolutions. He'd already removed the Facebook and Twitter apps from all his mobile devices to prevent temptation by the operant conditioning driven online services. Well, that wasn't entirely true...the devices didn't actually let Joe delete the apps entirely, part of the Giant Internet Brain's diabolical plan to enslave humanity to its ganglionic whimsy. So Joe was only able to "deactivate" the apps, whatever the hell that was. The end result was, for all intents and purposes, the same though. Joe had no reason, temtation, inclination, nor interest this morning in plugging his mind into the social media matrix.

The general gist of Joe's social media fasting experiment is simply to see what happens, good or bad or neither, if he simply doesn't use social media for two weeks. The null hypothesis is that Joe's life will be completely unaffected by abstaining from social media. However, the expected outcome is that there will be largely positive effects from the fasting that outweigh any negative ones from social media deprivation. For example, the time resources recouped by not engaging with social media can be redirected to actual useful brain productivity, such as writing. If that proves true Joe might be better off just permanently deactivating his social media accounts altogether, following the conclusion of the experiment, since there would be no net advantage to having social media accounts that would outweight the time lost in using them.

With no social media available to neutralize his brain for the 15 minutes until the morning chaos in the house subsided, Joe did the unthinkable. He just started thinking. And not just any old thinking. These were deliciously free thoughts, uncluttered and unbiased by the sensationalistic memes designed by the Giant Internet Brain to compel thought-free participation in the social media nexus. It felt fantastic, especially the absence of inflammatory and ill-informed political rhetoric. The best way he could describe the feeling was that his mind felt "clean."

Joe got up after the kids left and drank a big cup off coffee before starting his morning ritual: 15 minutes of meditation, some breakfast (a tofu and egg fritatta), and then 90 minutes of jazz piano practice. About noon, Joe walked the 1.3 miles to the public library and spent about three solid hours writing, revising an old short story he'd written way back God knows when. Walking home about 4 PM, he was alarmed by the idiocy and aggressiveness he observed from automobile drivers as he tried to navigate his way home, and he was glad he wasn't commuting by car.

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