Did I already lose some of you? Not a church-goer? That’s okay. If you found this site by a link I posted on social media, chances are this book will be of interest to you. The information and message isn’t looking to pigeon-hole you or convert you. I don’t pretend to know how to save your soul - I am tied up right now working on saving my own. However, reading this book will smack you in the face and bring you to your senses in terms of how we spend our time, on what things we place value, and the reckless abandon with which we are influencing our children. We are becoming slaves to new media, if we haven’t become already. But with practice and perseverance, and a little self-control, we can overcome this addiction and practice a more purposeful, intentional, balanced life. At least that’s what I’m hoping for.
I immediately related to this book, partly due to my love-hate relationship with social media and mostly because I am in a constant state of simplifying my life. This includes purging my Friends List on Facebook, participating in social media “fasts” and flirting with the Delete My Profile button. I am torn between connecting with people I actually know and keeping lines of communication open for my creative outlets, and resisting addictive behaviors and emotional reactions over the bad manners and hate I see on a daily basis. It’s a battle I have chosen to wage up until this point, but my white flag is clenched in my fist, begging to be flown.
Larchet discusses the effects of television, smartphones, social sites such as Facebook and Instagram and the psychology behind them. He supports many of the points made in another book I finished reading last week titled, The Brain Fog Fix.
Both Larchet and Dow discuss the effects of instant gratification on joy, and further, the effects of false “friendships” on our human need to connect. Larchet states, “hyper-communication…encourages superficial relationships which do not touch the deeper levels of the personality where loneliness is felt most strongly”. He references an article that contained an interview with Sean Parker who was an early investor in Facebook. When discussing the intent of the site, Parker stated that it “exploits a vulnerability in human psychology…[we] understood this consciously. And we did it anyway”. He goes on to say, “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains”. Dow expands on exactly what it is doing, and it’s not pretty.
Larchet also offers a formula for joy:
The intensity of joy depends on the intensity of desire, which in turn depends on its distance space or time from its object…In human life there is no pleasure without pain, no joy without sadness, no happiness without suffering, no enjoyment without frustration…
Have we forgotten how to wait? Are we grateful? I’m fearful we are billions of Veruca Salts, demanding a bigger piece from the chocolate factory. Are there any Charlies left?
Let me know if you read it; I would love to know your thoughts. I am hoping to attend a book club at my church with others who have read it to discuss it more. I am not naive to think that it is possible or even beneficial to do without the advancements in technology that we continue to experience. Extremes do not often bring forth the wisest solutions. Yet, I have to believe there is a balance to be found. If not externally, then at least within myself.