Hey Smartphone, Let Me FEEL Pain!

However you feel about Louis CK, it’s impossible to deny the whiff of absurdity and human condition here. There are a couple ideas that hit like a truck, (if you really try to feel them). Disturbing, but helpful. Of course when confronting these things, laughing helps 🙂

“What the phones are taking away, is the ability to just sit there. Like this. That’s being a person. Right?”

Underneath everything, in your life, there’s that thing…. that empty, forever empty. You know what I’m talking about? Just the knowledge that it’s all for nothin’ and you’re alone. Ya know it’s down there.”

“While driving, I started getting sad. And I reached for my phone and said to myself, you know what? Don’t. Just let it hit you like a truck. And I let it come, and I just start to feel… oh my god. And I pulled over, and I just cried, so much, and it was beautiful.”

Louis seems onto something: we all seem to have some kind of unfillable pit inside, that likes to creep up and surprise us now and then. Here’s the good news, at least from my experience (and others): I truly believe it is possible to explore this feeling and find great comfort beyond it. (separate topic).

What is the consequence of having distraction in our pocket, 24×7, he wonders?

Are smartphones really the primary target of his reflection? Yes and no – blaming phones is not the point. Smartphones aside, what is the cost of any kind of infinite distraction?

He suggests developing comfort with solitude and boredom, allowing space for those heavy feelings to show up and wash over you.

Louis considers the consequence of chronic distraction for children – but it applies equally toward adults. If we are always able to fly away from discomfort or anxiety, into some little numbing universe (in phones or elsewhere)… what does that mean over the course of a lifetime? How can we ever learn from that discomfort, and grow?

“We encounter boredom less and less. With all of our gadgets and the totality of human knowledge and artistic output always available to us. You can always hear your favorite song or watch a great film or read a great book or text a friend. Because you can do all of these things with a device you have at your side 24 hours a day, you might successfully avoid boredom for the rest of your life. But you might also never discover what’s on the other side of boredom. And you might not recognize the price you are paying for being compelled to distract yourself.”

Sam Harris

“You don’t have to invite boredom, but don’t run away from it. You can’t really get anywhere interesting if you are constantly running away from boredom. In many cases boredom is like the first line of defense before you can get to the more interesting stuff. People that just constantly want excitement, they get entrapped inside a smaller and smaller cocoon of reality.”

Yuval Noah Harari

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