Are You Taping This?
Alicia Malone
163

I must admit I cringe a bit at the use of the word “detox” given that it is a bit of a bastardization of a term which is already hovering somewhere between useless and abusive in the biological context. Nomenclature aside, this was perhaps an inevitable area to explore in your investigation.

There is, perhaps, a long-term intermediate solution to the time-vortex problem, if not the entirety of the unpleasantness which can accompany the SM experience. A change to consider for implementation following a SM *cringe* detox. Yes, this would be the thought that came to me when pulling beaver out of the freezer. The meat, you see, was the byproduct *ding* of a trip I took earlier in the year with a trapper friend. He had been *ding* hired to trap some beavers out of an area to try to restore the water levels. I was there to ride shotgun, watch his back and do any butchering.

The location wasn’t *ding* unabomber style off-grid (thought that has some appeal). We had some electricity and even a DVD *ding* player (watched Ronin, Fight Club, The Believer .. never got to Shallow Grave or Romper Stomper). Since *ding* I don’t have a *ding* cell phone, however, it was a chance *ding* to walk away from all contact with the outside world for a few days. It was fantastic. *ding**ding* It also made my friend’s cell phone into *ding* the clarion call of invading *DING* civilization, however. Bad enough when it *RIIING* rang, but with *ding* texting *ding* it was *ding* a *ding* constant *bloody ding* invasion. I don’t think you notice it so much in civilized surroundings, but when it is the only electronic noise you hear, you start to realize just how *ding* intrusive it can be.

While this was a stark example, I can’t help but think that not having a cell phone probably has benefited me in more subtle ways throughout. Every time I walk away from my desktop, SM goes away. Is one of the possible solutions for you, between walking away entirely and resigning yourself to your tether, to uninstall your SM apps from your phone but leave them on your laptop? That way you would still manage to meet your contractual obligations, share your favourite stories, promote your Oscar red carpet bid — but even a trip to the dentists would get you off of the treadmill. Sort of like your dumb phone idea, but you would retain some of the other functionality of the smart phone, including email, maps, camera etc.

Actually, this “control over abstinence” approach reminds me of an interview Joe Rogan did on JRE with Dr. Andrew Hill on different approaches to addiction treatment and how complete abstinence may not be the only/best solution for everyone. One of the key points was that for things like food addiction, complete abstinence simply isn’t an option. So too, perhaps, with SM in today’s world. I’m not entirely sure about the conclusions of Dr. Hill, who has seemingly now drifted into the woo-tangent world of “nootropics”, but it makes for some interesting material to consider.

Once addiction is sorted, that leaves only the issues of the Big Sort (used slightly out of context, I grant you, but I think it translates), echo chamber, harassment & bullying, corporate censorship, social detachment, virtual isolation, poor abrvtns, overwhelming cynicism, short attention spans, solipsism, people failing the Turing test, AIs passing the Turing Test, click-through, engagement, metrics of all sorts .. I guess there are still some issues.

On a side note, I’m not sure if it was a result of your having spurred me to think more actively about SM this past little while, but I appear to have walked away from twitter and mostly away from FB (still have to check for messages once a day or so, but haven’t been reading or posting). Also shut down my one blog, though I’m keeping “Opting Out” for now and will probably keep posting new articles to both FB and twitter. It has been refreshing in some ways, though I have no idea if it will last and it does make me sort of useless for the purpose of your survey.

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