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A very real addiction

Social media has the same potential to cause physical addiction as any other opioid. It triggers the reward chemical in your brain (an endogenous opioid) at higher levels than you would get from face-to-face interaction. Nature created a way to chemically incentivize socializing, but it didn’t predict the evolution of an internet getting you addicted to your own brain chemicals. Instead of contentedly being social to protect the species, we’re hooked to instant gratification like sheep to a bottomless feeding trough. Worse, the media, and politicians in particular, need to make you as angry as possible to keep users coming back for more. Both are willing to stretch the truth, or outright lie, to do so. If you want to enjoy a happier, healthier life, keep your device off 23 hours a day and do something else. Anything else.—MR

Antisocial: how putting away my phone helped me recover from a heart attack

By Rafael Behr, The Guardian US, April 29, 2023

In the first weeks of my convalescence I developed a capacity for time travel. I had to spend a lot of time in bed and, floating on the edge of wakefulness, half-conscious, I discovered I could explore scenes from my past in exquisite detail. I wondered if it was a side effect of my various medications and whether it would be permanent. It was almost hallucinogenic and not unpleasant. I couldn’t replay whole scenes from my youth, but I was able to transport myself back to old places – only interiors. I could feel the contours of the Artex on the walls of my childhood home in the late ’70s. I could smell the damp on the charcoal-colored carpet in the living room of the flat I rented with friends when I left university.

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April 30th, 2023 | Permalink

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