Are you iAssimulted?

I got the term iAssimulted from the Hawaiian Libertarian. Although he mostly talks about mobile phones in that article, he has another article that talks about digital entrapment. Working with the zombified youth of today, it is pretty clear that almost all youth (boys and girls) are addicted to their daily dose of Satan influenced brainwashing digital media. Most adults are as well. Just look at most parents, as they look at their phone watch their kids.

There are two forces at play here. First, almost everything we do on the Web is “free”. However, programmers who make it all work are some of the most highly paid professionals today. So how is all of this free? Ads. Every product you buy gives companies money, who spend that money on advertisements and marketing, a lot of which goes to ads on the Web. So, to earn money, they need people visit their web page, so they can see the ads and earn the Websites revenue. Companies have put in a lot of research into what makes people visit a Web page. Since spying on your Web habits is pretty easy, companies are easily able to gather a lot of information about you and what you do online.

They use all of this information not only to target you but to also predict what your behaviors will be on the Web. They learned how the subconscious mind works. Since Web page views means more money, digital media companies have pretty much figured out how to keep you on their website as long as possible, and how to get you to come back.

The second force at play is your own mind. There are two main parts to your mind, the frontal cortex (or thinking part of your brain), and the limbic system (or the instinctual part of your brain). The limbic system is where your heart beat, respiration, etc are controlled, and your thoughts live in the frontal cortex. Although everyone want to believe that the frontal cortex is controlling what you do, it really is the limbic system that has the ultimate say. For example, everyone knows not to breath underwater or you will drown. However, after a certain amount of time, the limbic system will override our conscious thoughts and force the body to breath and drown itself, despite the fact that the victim could have survived a few minutes longer without air. Since your limbic system is pretty much just the same as everyone else’s, this makes it pretty easy for companies to figure you out, and “force” you to view their pages longer, and to keep you coming back for more.

The main driver in all of this is dopamine, which is the hormone your body uses to motivate you. Drugs happen to cause the body to release larges amounts of dopamine. Dopamine is the feel good hormone that you get whenever you do something that helps you survive. Eat a good meal and you get dopamine. Go running, get dopamine. Have sex, get dopamine. Dopamine is how the body motivates you to live a purposeful life.

Unfortunately, your body cannot distinguish how you get dopamine. Anything “good” will give it to you. Finding out new information is one way to get dopamine. Get an email, get dopamine. Find out your friend is getting married on Facebook, get dopamine. Find an article specially designed for get you to click on it, get dopamine. And thus, we get addicted to our phones and digital media.

When we start getting cheap sources of dopamine (drugs, porn, digital media, and even the manosphere), we start becoming dependent on it. Ever have the feeling, an anxious feeling, that you need to get online? You limbic system is feeling a drop in dopamine and is worried that you might die if you don’t get some. It then starts to cause fear and uneasiness, and it directs you to get another fix of dopamine.

One other issue at play is neural pathways. Neural pathways are your brain’s way of turning on autopolit. When you showered this morning, did you have to put a lot of thought to it? Neural pathways develop as you repeatedly do things. It allows you to shower while thinking about something else. It allows athletes to get really good at their sport through practice. Everything comes automatic for them. The worst thing a field goal kicker can do is actually think. Just turn his mind on autopilot and let him kick the ball the same way he has done a thousand times in practice. It would be better for a field goal kicker to think about sex while kicking a field goal than it would be to think about kicking a field goal and risk not following his neural pathway.

So, when your limbic system starts craving some dopamine, it just finds the a neural pathway it knows leads to dopamine, and like an obedient slave, your phone comes out, the password is typed in automatically, and your favorite media floods your brain with cheap dopamine. Your limbic system feels like it has done it’s job and solidifies your neural pathway even further.

Cheap dopamine has two effects on you. First, you waste a lot of time and miss out on a lot of experiences. Second, earning dopamine the hard way (like eating healthy, working out, having sex with an actual person, productively earning money, etc.) doesn’t seem worth it. Facebook and other digital media keep giving you cheap dopamine without putting forth much effort. It’s hard for things that are real to compete. However, despite the cheap dopamine making you feel good for a few hours, you know deep down you haven’t accomplished anything. Usually depression will hit you. Plus, you haven’t done anything to actually increase your status among others, nor God.

Unfortunately, we use this “drug” to buffer us from the realities of this world. Feeling tired, pull the phone out. Stressed about your homework, pull your phone out. Girl might reject you if you ask her out, pull your phone out. Working out might make us feel like a wimp, pull the phone out.

You can’t really live and experience this life, if your main source of dopamine comes from watching TV, looking at your phone, playing video games, attention whoring on social media (like most women do), texting friends, etc. Some people miss the most significant moments in their lives because they are too worried about attention whoring documenting it on social media.

All of this is used to buffer you from really living. So here is what you can do about it.

  1. Commit to changing and ask for God’s help.
  2. Change the password on your phone and computer. This will give you a chance to jump out of your neural pathway, and develop a new one.
  3. Use browser plugins like StayFocus’d or LeechBlock to limit your time online, and limit which sites you goto. Although you can easily skirt around them, at least you have something to knock you out of a neural pathway when your time is up.
  4. Move your favorite apps around on your phone, change the way you get to your favorite sites. Delete bookmarks, or reorganize them. All of these little changes will give you a chance to jump out of your neural pathway. Be careful because if you keep forging ahead, your neural pathway will adjust to the new things pretty quickly.
  5. Learn how to deal with you emotions. First you have to identify them, next learn how to deal with them. This will probably include getting exercise, relaxing, meditating (both prayer and yoga-ish stuff), reading books, doing actual work, and even talking to your kids, friends, and family members face-to-face.
  6. And once again re-commit and fix what went wrong when you slip up into your old ways.

Sometimes a full reboot is needed. Go a full month without any news, social media, TV, video games, etc. Disconnect as much as possible. Then when you reconnect, be careful and set strict guidelines. Schedule your media time, and use settings to get the content you want most. On Facebook for example, set up a small group of people that you actually want to receive updates from. Then you can use that group to only get updates from them.

It won’t be easy, but once you start to experience real life again, you will be glad you committed to change. You might be surprised when you actually start feeling the spirit again.

Also, be warned. Cutting dopamine will make you miserable for a few days. You will find that you will lose your temper more often, have cravings for old habits, and be depressed. But it should go away in a few days. I’m not a psychiatrist, so if you start to go crazy please see one. If you already are seeing one, ask his advice before cutting the plug.

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Trading your Birthright for a Bowl of Porridge

“Let me close by bearing witness (and my nine decades on this earth fully qualify me to say this) that the older I get, the more I realize that family is the center of life and is the key to eternal happiness.” – L. Tom Perry (In his last talk, before he passed away.)

I know I have quoted this before, but I wanted to make a post about it. Since Satan wants us to be miserable like he is, he is working on making sure that family is not the center of anyone’s life. So, he convinces us to trade our birthright (family happiness) for a bowl of porridge (our career). Unfortunately, somewhere a non-scriptural doctrine got introduced into Mormon culture that says that you need to “work hard” to get to the Celestial Kingdom. Where is that in the scriptures? It wasn’t one of Christ’s main doctrines.

Now, I am not saying that you should be lazy, nor that you shouldn’t work hard, but who are you working hard for? And, are you really working hard? Just because you put in long hours at the office doesn’t mean you are working hard. In fact, putting in long hours at the office is probably trying to avoid the “hard work” of raising kids and dealing with women.

I have lots of co-workers who really believe in “hard work”. One, for example, loves to pride himself on how many hours he puts in the office. Of course, when you go into his office to talk to him, you see his browser open with 20-30 different tabs of ESPN, CNN, FOX News, and other waste of time sites. Unfortunately, he never had time for his daughter. When his daughter was around 10 years old, my wife worked with her. She talked about how she never saw her dad, and that her mom didn’t get home until 5 or 6, and that she was pretty lonely after school. Needless to say, as a teenager she got sent off to live with someone else for 8 months. Not just one time, but twice. (And if you don’t get it, that is the amount of time a girl would want to hide her pregnancy.) Oh, did I mention she had a drug problem too?

Anyway, this co-worker is quite a bit older than me, so when I first met him, I used to look up to him. But, as I got to know him better, I started to see how miserable this man truly is. Sure, he’s been in stake presidencies, and in high up positions at work (something he prides himself in), but none of that made him happy. Of all of his kids, he only has one that will produce any posterity in the church. If that wasn’t enough, he still tries to shame me for refusing to work as hard as he does.

Now, did my co-worker really work hard? He was so overweight that he blew out both of his knees and hips. One thing I do give him credit for is actually losing the weight, but the damage has been done. He has lots of praise from his career, but it is pretty easy to tell that he used his career as a way to avoid the hard work of raising his kids and dealing with his wife. On Saturday, he was in his office. On Sunday, he was holding church meetings. On evenings, he was in his office. On early mornings, he was in his office. I doubt that, besides vacations, he really interacted much with his kids. He was too fat to play ball with them, taking them to a water park, or even to the mall, was probably exhausting for him.

So, now all of his kids are out of the house, all he has to show for his life is his “career accomplishments”. If that doesn’t sound like trading his birthright for a bowl of porridge, I don’t know what is. My wife and a few of my co-worker’s wives got together once, and all of the wives started bragging about how many hours their husbands put in at the office. Guess who lost. That’s right, me. Instead of bragging about how much time you put in at the office, brag about how much time you spend enjoying your birthright.

So, how do you manage to get a job that supports a family and gives you time to be with them?

  1. Choose a career that is actually worth something (and hopefully something you can enjoy). You are much more likely to get paid more when you are accomplishing something people actually need. There are a lot of worthless people in the corporate world who think they are really important. But if they just disappeared one day, how many people would notice?
  2. Don’t strive to clime the corporate ladder. Do you really want to be a manager, who has even more time wasting meetings and BS to deal with? Just do your job really well. Hopefully, your company will see your value and keep you where you can be at your best.
  3. Make sure the job includes flex-time. You should be able to re-arrange your hours so you can spend more time with your kids. You will be more productive that way. Any company that doesn’t allow this is probably mismanaged and not worth wasting your time working for.
  4. Live within your means, which will mean telling your wife that you don’t need a bigger house, or a newer car. You should be managing the budget. If not, grow a pair and take over. FYI, nothing says loser (and unattractive husband) more than being in debt. Married men in large amounts of debt don’t get a lot of sexual attention from their wives. Thrifty men, with a well followed budget who aren’t afraid to tell their wives “no” do.

If you are working long hours, you’re probably miserable. You better have a plan to get more time off. Life is too short to dedicate most of your waking hours just to become a cubicle slave. (And to think that Satan and his feminist minions have convinced almost all women that being anything less than a cubicle slave is worthless.) Think about it, when you are 10 years past retirement, are your career achievements really going to mean that much to you?

Hopefully, as you’re getting old and lonely, you will have a lifetime of full of memories with your wife and kids. What could be better? Don’t let Satan trick you into working even an hour more than you need to. It won’t pay off. But an hour with your kids, playing ball, or swimming, or even playing video games, now that is worth it. An hour sitting next to your wife talking about the joys of life, now that is worth it. An hour being intimate wife your wife, now that is worth it. If you have put in more that 8 hours a day working, even if you have the time to be with your family, you’re probably too tired to make the most of it.

If your not there, the time to change is now! It’s time to stop working hard, and start working smart, that way you can play hard with your family.