Sunday, February 17, 2019

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Coda



I am reading Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier, and I'm convinced. Mind you, I started reading it because I was already convinced, and needed reinforcement. I've not always found Lanier wholly convincing in all of his arguments previously, and don't agree with all of the finer points in this book.

I might have actually had more realization about this while reading Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright. In my Goodreads review, I noted how strongly You Are Not So Smart, this book, the website, the podcast and similar examinations of the mind and its workings primed me be open to Buddhism in a way now that I hadn't been in some time.

Both these readings and my examination of my own mind through meditation and reflection have made it obvious that social media is something I'm not generally wired for. There's a broader discussion to be had about how much of those are things that are inherent to online group discussion as a whole and how much is specific to the ways we've been bought and sold by the social media companies, because there's an extent to which both are true.

But I see clearly that there are forces involved in this that are way above my ability maneuver and that most of my feeling that I could control it, were simply part of the cycle of being controlled by those forces. Often times knowing their are forces trying to manipulate us makes it conversely even easier for us to manipulate. We think we're "onto them" and our biases toward our own superiority lead us believe we're more capable of seeing past it than those other people are the exact moment we're all at our most vulnerable to be manipulated the most.

I come at the idea that all of this engagement over what is essentially the entirety of my adult life is somewhat troubling, but I'm also not writing it all off as harmful. I've made friends with people in a variety of contexts, and of a variety of places and types in the world, that I would not have otherwise. I've maintained friendships, in one form or another, that might otherwise have fallen completely by the wayside. I'm not entirely sure what I'll do about any of those things.

Making and maintaining relationships has never been a strong suit of mine, which was part of the appeal of being able to do it online. Doing it in a virtual space in which my weaknesses at social interaction were less pronounced was something I needed at some point. I see other people of my community express similar needs, and I understand. I understand why they continue to need these tools in their lives, and I hope they are able to get more benefit than harm in how they engage with these things and how these things engage with them.

Two of my biggest troubles in life are the struggle against being an asshole and with finding a way to deal with other people being assholes.

As social media is packed with ways in which I and others are led, by structural aspects that work against the way our minds are designed to engage groups as well as people and algorithms purposely manipulating those aspects, as well as using other techniques, to inflame our tendencies to feel like assholes, it's a minefield for me every day to avoid getting upset, jumping into altercations for no reason or being angry or depressed about the world around me, all for reasons that might be wildly exaggerated specifically for me to engage a website in order to give money to someone else.

So, instead of going through periods of stepping away for my mental health and coming back, like a drunk going a few weeks without a drink to clean up before going back to it, I'm going to permanently delete my accounts.

I'm keeping Goodreads and Letterboxd, because they're low engagement. For now, I'm keeping my Quora account because I feel I can maintain that. I'll reconsider it if I start to behave to compulsively toward it, as I have on occasion, but since it still seems stuck on giving me too much about subjects I'm less interested in now and not Zen Buddhism, Social Anarchism or Surf Rock, which might make me feel compelled to spend more time engaging with it and, as such, feel the need to eliminate it completely.

Also keeping my Pinterest, but I'm just using that as fancy wish lists I'm keeping for my own use, so I'm not sure that counts.

My email address is neilsarver@zoho.com, if anyone wants to contact me. I guess I should fix that in some way that doesn't invite more spam, but I don't care right now. I can add to my spam filter if I need to. More dangerously, it's been a long time since I've done any extensive emailing. I make no promises that I'd be any good at it at this point, but I'm good with trying.

I'm pretty sure everything else just goes. Forever.

If I hear of a new thing that addresses these specific concerns, I'll definitely look into those options and hopefully find some of you there and perhaps all of us can have an even better time than we had before.

I'm not sure I said any of this even a tenth as clearly as I intended to. If I were trying to convince you or justify myself, I'd probably make sure to re-read and fix it up, but I'm just leaving a marking that I was here and now I'm gone.

I feel that by continuing on social media generally, I'm part of the problem. For the world and for myself.

I don't know what I'll be doing with my projects or how I'll engage the world to let them know they exist, but I'll find something.

And there'll be a much higher chance that they'll be completed. And worthwhile.

So, anyway.

Have fun out there.

And be good to each other.


UPDATE: I changed the email address in this post, because I am looking to phase out my old email address, for similar reasons the stuff I've expressed here about social media. I expect to take some time in phasing it out, so I'll be responding and working with emails sent to the old one.


UPDATE II: For whatever it's worth, I've decided to leave Quora for much the same reasons, as I explain in this post, Good-bye.

As I touch on there, I am considering what ways I could best connect with the world and use this time. I have ideas and thoughts, but I'm not there.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The end



I've suggested in my last couple of posts that I'm closing this thing down. I've been doing something under this name for nearly 15 years, on and off, perhaps more off than on by now, since I was an incredibly unhappy person with a much different life and much different dreams.

I've intended to write something about it, but who cares? In the end, the voice I created for this blog no longer feels like one I want to represent me anymore. I think that's what I said before.

I don't know exactly what I'll do next, but I have some ideas. Not sure when I'm actually taking this down, but I did decide that I'd write this because whatever I do, I'm not doing it in this context.

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