It’s a challenge to pause: Noise, infotoxins and stimulation-addicts

Rarely sitting on a muskoka chair by a lake in Ontario away from the chaos of the city, I found myself reading the print version of Adbusters magazine (something I pay to receive in the mail regularly but rarely get to read through). But why not?

The article in Adbusters Whole Brain Catalogue that really jumped out talks about the Ecology of the Mind, and this new movement being born: where we can’t just sit and focus on one thing for very long at all.

“Drowning in an endless stream of connectivity”

Noise: there used to be a lot less of it (like just rain and people talking); but now it’s rush-hour roar, cell phones buzzing, loud tv commercials. There’s always noise! I was impressed how accurately the writer captured my simulation-addicted lifestyle:

“Can’t work without background music. Can’t jog without earphones. Can’t sleep without an iPhone tucked under the pillow.”

I completely agree that quiet feels foreign now. But it might be what we really need, to have a healthy mind.

Are you ever tired of receiving 3,000 + marketing messages per day? “From the moment your radio alarm sounds on the morning to the wee hours of late-night TV, micro-jolts of commercial pollution flow into your brain.”

One effect that’s really accurate is the fragmentation of our psyches: Jumpy Brain Syndrome! I definitely experience this, where constantly texting, posting links, browsing blogs, bookmarking sites, and emailing files result in “digital daze”, where Lason and White say it’s what leads to being “unable to concentrate, feeling foggy, anxious and fatigued”.

And I’m constantly online. Waiting for an elevator? in Texting friends. On the bus? Replying to emails. At an event even? Reading Twitter updates. And it’ll only get worse for future generations, if the average American teen sends 50+ texts per day and spend around 8 hours using electronic devices.

I’ll stay connected. There’s too much out there to miss. But it’s not terrible being away for a bit. In Haiti, though I did reach for where my iPhone would’ve been if I were in Canada, not having it there didn’t kill me.