I’ve been plugged into Facebook for over ten years now, and though I should not be surprised, I’m impressed by how long it has taken me to let go. Never mind that it has become a tedious no-man’s-land of conflicting biases. I still to this very moment suffer from some strange attachment to the marvelously reassuring dopamine hit that every “Like” or “Comment” injects into my gray matter. The hit may be small, but the need grows.
And I suspect that there is another reason I’ve stayed far longer than I should have. Facebook allowed me to curate the semblance of a strong personality without actually devoting the type of self-development that would normally be required. Instead of reading voraciously, something I’ve done for most of my life, I could just hit my usual blogrolls and develop a basic understanding of the ideas being shuttled around the internet. Instead of writing methodically and cultivating full thoughts on ideas and events, I could riff on them with a cavalier, authoritative tone that conveyed more mastery of the subject than I possessed. Normally, this behavior would be more easily picked up on and called out for the inherent laziness or stupidity it betrays, but it seems platforms like Facebook have something of a “masking” effect. Or perhaps my growing lethargy of mind was as evident to others as it has become to me. Either way, the decision has been made.
Real writing, writing that has helped one to construct one’s thoughts carefully, isn’t cheap. It takes thought and effort. Writing intentionally and fully not only allows me to express my ideas but also causes those ideas and thought structures to take a definite shape. It clarifies itself as it is expressed. Writing casually about subjects that I am only familiar with in passing produces no light, just heat. Heat can be good, but I now possess an overabundance, and it’s time I exchanged that currency for another.
I want to return to those behaviors which brought me the pleasure of understanding and reasoning. I want to be a prodigal reader and a deep thinker once again. One of the most significant obstacles to that goal is easy access to cheap chemical stimulation through social media.
In summation, screw Facebook.