Garbage in, garbage out

· 1 min read

A friend of mine is subscribed to dozens of meme accounts. Sometimes he sends me funny pictures, only to discover that I find the humor repulsive. A family member is concerned about the geopolitical situation and wouldn't stop retelling what she just read on the Internet. She then goes on to blame me for not being interested. A long-time friend acts condescending when I don't understand her references to the latest Twitter fad.

Attention is the most valuable and limited resource. We use attention as a flashlight to take in some aspects of the world at the cost of disregarding the rest. What we pay attention to shapes what we think and how we feel about ourselves and the world around us.

You are what you eat. Popular culture is obsessed with counting calories, fasting, diets, meal plans. And yet, we don't seem to be at all concerned with how we use our attention.

An average person spends hours scrolling through various information feeds daily. The entire worldview of what is happening and what is real is dictated by what they see. Their information diet is decided by an algorithm designed to ensure they see more of what they're most likely to binge on. Emotionally charged, sexualized, biased stories are junk food for your brain.

Most of us are retelling what someone else said. So do I.

Influenced by Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport and The Social Dilemma (2020).