What seems to work is this notion of working backwards from what’s important, choosing your tech to support those things, and then—this is the key twist—putting in place those rules around the tech use to get the benefits while sidestepping the cost. Some highlights of their conversation, edited and condensed for clarity, are below. That I should always be sucking up information with the idea that maybe it could be useful later on. It feels like self-improvement, and you can’t get enough.

That’s the short-term hack, but what it gives you in your life is at least 10 to 20 minutes of time alone with your own thoughts and your environment on a regular basis.

What is so compelling about Trick Mirror is that Tolentino does not stop her interrogation where it is neat and convenient to stop. I think the real problem is the lack of regulation on Silicon Valley itself. Jia Tolentino (30) grew up in Texas where her parents, immigrants from the Philippines, were members of the Southern Baptist church. But the key notion is if the tech you’re using is intentional and there’s rules around it, that tends to give people this sense of autonomy back, and that seems to cure a lot of the unease. I wanted that dread, and I wanted that wonder, and I wanted to feel bored. One of the theories behind boredom is that this is what drives us to get over our basic instinct to conserve energy, which all animals have.

They’re all tricks, she warns. [They] have done that classic immigrant thing where their priority was that we would have more freedom than they had. “I’m not religious at all but I have a lot of respect for devotion in any form ... What religion is supposed to be, a continual inquiry into a mystery, I love that.”, When did she lose her faith? I was: ‘Hey guys, sorry you sent me to Christian school for 12 years and the result is me writing 10,000 words on how much I like drugs.’. I wanted to just lay on my couch and stare at the wall for 30 minutes and not fill my brain with a continual stream of new information. For Four Years I’ve Been Telling My Children a Lie They May Finally Believe, In Kentucky, a Dog Named Wilbur Has Won a Heated Race to Be a Town’s Mayor, “There Were a Lot of People Crying in Line”: a Liquor Store Owner on Postelection Drinking in 2016 vs. Today.

“I don’t want to be unnecessarily fatalistic, but it does seem we’ve reached a stage with so much acceleration and inertia, it’s hard to imagine things truly reversing.”. While swimming on a bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico, one of five in the entire world, Tolentino recounts: We touched one another’s shoulders and watched our fingers crackle with light.

I think decluttering works, but it’s a solution to a problem that shouldn’t exist. She accepted a job offer from the New Yorker the day the company went bankrupt. “I wanted to feel unstimulated and see what my mind did in its, “It’s going to be like this until we somehow find some way to dismantle the fundamental profit model of the, As Much Analysis As Your System Can Handle. You can see people reacting to things out of any sense of reasonable proportion…. “I have very few conclusions about anything,” she says.

“I tried to write about these things,” she says now, “in large part so that I would be spared the worst of that distortion. There were no cameras, and they couldn’t have captured it, anyway. So the one thing that I didn’t do [from Newport’s book was] try to replace phone time with enriching real-life activities … because I didn’t want to do that, because I didn’t want to give up my phone in the interest of being more productive, more holistically whatever.

The depression lifted, it seems, when she began writing again.



It seemed so self-evidently meaningless and ephemeral and transactional and cold in a way that really hurt me.”, Does she feel that the internet’s destructive centrality in our lives is inevitable?

“I spent Saturday night playing beer pong until 3am … I’m kind of, I want to say ‘average’… I’m so vulnerable to all the same things we’re all vulnerable to, and I feel that’s a useful thing to be able to foreground in your writing, to show your total lack of immunity to all the forces working on all of us …, “I crave that experience of physically inhabiting the centre of something as the only possible way of understanding it.”, Throughout her life, she says, she has written things down in order to understand them.



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