It’s too loud in here; this digital room, where all of my friends are hanging out, screaming at each other and waiting for attention. I came to enjoy their company, but the voices, the crowds of echoes—all at once, this volume is too loud.
I haven’t helped the situation either. In fact, I’ve made it worse. I’ve joined the party, and I’ve contributed enough noise to draw way too much attention to myself. Hey look at me, look at my friends, and look at what we created! So much noise, and the distortion is only getting louder.
Every Facebook post, article shared, Twitter link, Instagram pic, Snapchat story, Instant Message—there’s just so many ways to enter into a person’s thoughts in a single day—from every angle, we’re surrounded by voices. I notice you, I see that you’re having a good time, I liked it for you. Look! You’ve almost reached your daily like goal, congrats!
How did we get to this point? How did we become so fixated on needing this daily attention? Why do we send a selfie every hour, reminding someone what we look like, as if they’ve forgotten our face that fast? This can’t be healthy.
As I declutter many areas of my life, I wanted to point my attention towards the noise: to recognize it, to analyze it, and to take that imaginary volume knob, and turn it to the left until I hear nothing. Imagine a crowded street in a busy city, and now picture it vacant. What was loud and filled with sirens and yelling and music, is now quiet enough to hear the birds passing by. Removing the distractions should be the end goal, reaching ultimate clarity. I know you’re out there, I see your digital lips moving, but I can no longer hear you. It’s now quiet, I can hear myself thinking, and I am now at peace.
See also: I Use To Be A Human Being
Every hour I spent online was not spent in the physical world. Every minute I was engrossed in a virtual interaction I was not involved in a human encounter. Every second absorbed in some trivia was a second less for any form of reflection, or calm, or spirituality. “Multitasking” was a mirage. This was a zero-sum question. I either lived as a voice online or I lived as a human being in the world that humans had lived in since the beginning of time.