On an exercise walk tonight in the Bridle Path area I listened to Alie Ward’s recent podcast on happiness research: Awesomeology (GRATITUDE FOR LITTLE THINGS) with Neil Pasricha.
It reinforced how the smartphone and the media in general is “the slot machine in your pocket“, with intermittent variable rewards that habituate you into scrolling through dreck, depression, and unrealistic comparisons to your own life because the occasional joy or pleasant surprise sets us up like rats hoping for a food pellet, pressing the lever over and over, or the people who put more into slot machines than society spends on baseball and making movies.
I’m going to try a few new behaviours in response:
- Not sleeping with my cell phone in the room
- Putting my phone in an envelope at night, with some required actions before I can open it, like having a cup of coffee and a shower and going outside for five minutes
- Putting all my social media passwords on a piece of paper, keeping them logged out by default, and only checking them periodically
One other note from the walk: I ankle around in Rosedale often, so I have seen a lot of ostentatious mansions, but nothing in Toronto yet like one house on Park Lane Circle which displays the aesthetic sensibilities of Saddam Hussein, behind such an ornate gold and black fence that I wondered whether it was the residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario before I checked myself with the memory that neither the Governor General’s house in Ottawa nor Buckingham Palace is quite so ornamented.