Inspired jointly by an article written by Ms. Scarlett and my own currently self-imposed Facebook hiatus, I find myself with some good material for an article which I believe could benefit others.
Today, I want to talk to you about what I consider modern day addictions, in the sense of mental addictions, which are often self-imposed and, without recognition, can bring damaging consequences to your life. The main facet which I want to explore with you are digital addictions. In my hiatus, I have come to the realization of how negatively things such as Facebook and other social media outlets had come to dominate my everyday life. It detracted from my focus, which hurt real life goals I’ve had and I realized it was finally time to put my foot down and exercise self control.
It’s been proven that endorphins are released in the brain in regards to social stimulation and activity. In that case, sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. have become the modern day meth for our people and also the dealers of this drug. As a consequence, it has had severely damaging effects on the population as a whole and largely without them being aware of it. Why? Because they are addicted. Just like in drug or alcohol rehabilitation, it is possible for an addict to recognize they are addicted (such as in my case) and break the addiction; however, it requires a level of intelligence and self-awareness to do so that I’ve found many simply do not have.
Once upon a time, in the waning years of my military service, I had become an alcoholic. At the time, I didn’t realize how much booze had become a solution to my problems, until the factor causing my behavior was gone – and, that was the Army itself. Over time, I was able to break myself of my behavior; however, I have a much higher degree of control than others. So, if you find yourself dealing with such addictive vices, you may not be able to free yourself without outside help. If that is the case, please get the help.
Given how the entire social media experience can be manipulated, it raises ethical questions in regards to the responsibilities providers of said service have with their influence and control. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have conveniently been able to dodge the “ethical question” under the guise of cracking down on “bullies,” “racists,” “trolls” and others under “community guidelines.” It has provided them a crafty and convenient cloak for their activities of manipulation and demoralization. The deliberate nature of it cannot be ignored and it’s high time something is done about it.
Entities such as Facebook have become the de facto town square, as such, the Constitution ought to apply to them. They surrendered their right for any sort of opinion on matters when they assumed and accepted this position. It is not their right to manipulate you in any way, shape or form.
What happens online, to an extent, does not matter. Now, this isn’t to say things that happen online can’t or don’t matter, but not everything does. And, this is the key factor we need to analyze in order to flush out whether certain actions and behaviors are stemming from an addiction or a healthy activity.
Online communities, such as those provided by the great people of ID and others, are healthy organisms which do not seek to manipulate the activities of its consumers/users. The exchange and free flow of information is allowed unabated along the lines of what its focus is – Southern Nationalism, tradition, values and culture. Identity Dixie does not advertise itself to its users as anything else. You know what you are getting.
However, tech giants such as Facebook are not like this. While they claim to be bastions of “freedom,” discussion and community, they are not because they deliberately manipulate the experience of users to control: their behavior, how they think, how they feel, and, ultimately, translate that behavior into real world action (how to vote). This is arguably the most dangerous thing about it all because it becomes a form of absolute authoritarianism.
Ideas which exist only in a vacuum and when applied to real life tend to fail because only the most idealized versions of them are implemented without accounting for any of the practical and realistic negatives. This is why, time and time again, communist socialist governments ultimately fail. All of the negatives are not accounted because they were never allowed to be presented in the first place. In turn, this causes disastrous events in the real world, which is why (for just one of many reasons) intellectual spaces must remain unregulated.
Enter the Antitrust Act of 1890. In a brief summary, the Antitrust Act was established to prevent an entity from becoming so large (think monopoly) they cannot be stopped – the Act’s introduced mechanisms that prohibited anti-competitive arrangements and practices. In the case of the Antitrust Act, it was established to break up monopolies that had seized control of the oil industry for their own benefit.
When such monopolies arise outside of reasonable commerce, serious ethical questions need to be asked. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc, have all positioned themselves as modern day monopolies (of thought). As such, they have become an established danger and threat to everyone. This precedent is established by admittance of political bias either from their own mouths (both directly and indirectly), as well ass leaked internal memos and directives. Thank God for places like Wikileaks, otherwise we might not even know about some of this stuff.
I can now fully admit that I was was addicted to Facebook, which I never could have imagined previously. I viewed it as benign, but the signs were there once I started looking. Are they there for you too? How often do you find yourself on it? Are you checking your phone every break, while you are at work? Or, every time you are out at the smoke pit, instead of socializing with real people who are right in front of you? Do you find yourself logged in habitually everyday, even if you’re at home? Are you repeatedly checking to see if someone commented or reacted to your post(s)? Do you get a sense of validation from getting lots of likes?
If you answered yes to these, you are addicted. Now that you recognize you have a problem, how do you fix it? The same way I am doing it now, abstinence. You just have to stop. Uninstall the app, logout and close out the browser. Tell yourself, “I will not go onto Facebook, until I have done what I need to do.” I used similar methods to break myself of vices that have controlled me throughout my life, from video games to drinking and now to Facebook. There is a whole world outside your phone or computer screen. Get out there and get in it.
Sure, communities can exist online, but they only do so in a vacuum. What happens when you lose signal or power? Now, all you have is the real world – which has always been there when you’ve been buried away in your artificial one and will continue to be there long after the artificial one is gone. Get out there and get in it. The changes you make in the real world are lasting, unlike the one on social media. At the end of the day, anything and everything you do online can be simply nullified if the plug gets pulled. Don’t believe me that things like Facebook can never go away? Might I implore you to recount Myspace, which at one time was the world’s largest social media platform.
There is one thing you can never get back from social media, especially if for any reason the plug gets pulled or you get cut off from it and that is the most valuable thing of all – time. You will never get that time back. One thing I have learned as a tradesman is the value of time. Time is a commodity that has value. Why would you freely give it away to companies such as Facebook who have declared they hate us? They hate us for who we are, they hate us for what we stand for and, most importantly, they hate us for what we represent – an obstacle in their path of domination.
In my hiatus, I’ve taken to exploring and learning various subjects I’ve either ignored or slacked off with and I can already begin to see the positive net growth coming from these efforts. I made a vow to everyone I know I would not be back on Facebook until I had completed a personal milestone. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this experience is something that reaffirms another article I wrote – Everything In Moderation. Exercising discipline and recognition of the downside of the digital world is key to a free, healthy and happy mind.
While the endeavors we stand for are vast and grand, it is important to solidify them in the real world. And, the only way that happens is by making it real. The only way you will ever make anything real in life is by getting up and doing it. Take action and stop looking for someone to take up the mantel for you.
Be the person and change you want to see.
God bless you and God bless Dixie.
When Otto isn’t turning wrenches, you can hear the sound of him griping to himself about the state of the modern world echoing off the pine and oak trees. He emerges on occasion to harass carpetbaggers and Yankees.