Photo: Ari Herzog
On Sunday evening, I deleted Twitter and Tumblr off my phone, and besides for a five minute relapse this afternoon, they have stayed deleted. It was all just starting to feel too much like an eating disorder or like academic mania — being preoccupied with thoughts you don’t care about, compulsively seeking information that is at once overwhelming and boring, soliciting the approval of people you don’t know, relying on your own anxiety for stimulation.
I did it for the sake of my own brain and for the sake of the people I pit against the internet every single time I check my phone while in their company. Nothing new here. But it also feels surprisingly good to witness the evolution of thoughts and feelings for the first time in what seems like forever; I had forgotten that thoughts and feelings actually grow more complex if you just stop documenting their earliest iterations. Strangers on the street are the most concrete example. They can be funny from a block away, pitiable from half-a-block away, tragic up-close, and then loveable once they’re behind you. If you use a smart phone like I do, you never see the pitiable stranger, the tragic stranger, or the loveable stranger. You take a picture of the funny stranger and caption it with something clever and mean. “Dopamine squirts,” be damned; there are ethical dimensions to disconnecting.Alice Gregory writes ORNAMENT OF MY MIGHT, where this post was originally published. It is republished here with permission. You can follow her on Twitter here.