Smartphones – The Poison to Our Modern Brains
This wicked, little device liberates you whilst simultaneously enslaving you, and it does it all right under your nose. It liberates you because it is helpful in so many ways, it allows you to run your business and stay in touch with everyone and everything, whether you are snowboarding the highest mountain peaks in the Alps or sailing on your boat in the French Riviera. However, as good as that may be it is also very destructive because you just can’t stop yourself from repeatedly checking texts, emails or apps. It is the only thing that I have ever been addicted to, and I find it quite challenging to maintain a healthy balance between purposeful usage and increased stress.
Using a smartphone for work often means taking your work at home and in your personal life. You feel the pressure to be available, never out of touch with work. This need to constantly check and respond to emails can contribute to higher levels of stress and even burnouts.
The endless stream of notifications and information from a smartphone will overload your brain and makes it difficult for you to spend longer than a couple of minutes on something that doesn’t provide as much pleasure, without needing to move on and do something else.
It is even crazier how this addiction attacks kids more so than adults. I see them playing outside for a few hours then all of a sudden these regular games become dull and boring, I sense their need for a dopamine rush, their brains feeling the urge to go inside and play games on a smartphone or watch videos on a tablet, this stimulates their brains much more than socializing with each other. It is very similar to the consumption of drugs and alcohol, which also trigger the release of dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone and brain chemical that makes you happy, that then changes your mood
What is even more problematic, we build up a tolerance quite quickly, so it takes more and more time spent in front of those screens to receive the same pleasurable reward, it keeps us coming back for more. Furthermore, this addiction makes you neglect other crucial aspects of your life like real-world relationships, hobbies and social activities. The rewarding feeling of always checking your socials, different apps and addictive online gaming is ever powerful.
This smartphone addiction is multiplied tenfold because you always have your phone with you. The size and comfort of smartphones and tablets make them inseparable from our daily lives. We can take them anywhere and keep our compulsions fulfilled at all times. Indeed, most of us always have their smartphones at hand’s reach. They are a never-ending flow of news, informational videos, music. They provide us with access to our office from anywhere, to our colleagues and employees. Uninterrupted access to our loved ones, friends and family... which is not always the best thing!
Honestly, I am not sure if this is the best invention in the world or one of the worst, but I have this impression that like the mousetrap is for mice, the smartphone is for humans. You will always find a reason to check it, just to look at the screen - maybe someone has texted you, maybe there is something of huge importance happening in the world and you are missing out, or that tingling urge to check how things are going at the office, you can even make fast market research from your phone if the idea pooped on your mind, or purchase things online. My phone is something I haven’t quite yet mastered how to control while running a business. Because it is nearly impossible to run a business successfully without having your phone on you 24/7.
Now another struggle that I have regarding this subject is - are our thoughts even our own anymore? Writer Richard Foreman asked the same question a few years ago in an online magazine I read, implying: “Are we becoming Pancake People — spread wide and thin as we connect with that vast network of information accessed by the mere touch of a button?”
American writer Nicholas Carr is suggesting that the internet is not only influencing our lives but it is also physically altering our brains! We simply absorb information as it is served to us, without really knowing the true background of the story. The media companies broadcast whatever they want us to watch, whilst Google algorithms decide what “truths” we should not see vs. what “lies” we should. Sadly, it has been given unprecedented power to the media organizations, and social media as well, run by the conglomerates and megalomaniacs behind the scenes. They understand that once they control what we can see, they can control what we think. Then when they have control over our thoughts, they have the same control over our actions, our consumption behaviours, political views… you name it.
A wise man once told me - “People don’t have ideas, but ideas have people”. It resonated with me because all these ideas we think we have created with our inexhaustible brains are actually someone else’s ideas planted in our heads decades ago - very subtly and without us even realising it. This level of indoctrination requires special attention, that way at least you can make an effort to try to establish what is logical and what is not, really. In my opinion, the best way to keep safe is to have conservative values at hand as some broad measurements. These values have guided humanity hundreds of years backwards and through religion, they have provided peace and order so today we can clearly see the results, which are definitely not perfect, but at least our society today has found the sufficient time to delve into notions such as all these different dimensions of sexuality and “which toilet should transexual people use?”.
It all comes down to the fact that the biggest problems nowadays are actually those each of us has in their own head. I feel so lucky having grown up in an era without so much nonsense, rules and regulations. Those were the times when we were actually free, unlike today when we have all these “woke”, politically correct lefties trying to dictate what we should think and how we should behave. All this political correctness is absurd.
© 2020 Gian Paolo Aliatis