The Best Choice You Can Make Today is to Stop Reading

Seriously, quit while you’re ahead!

We’re being inundated with information. Before I make my breakfast, I’ve accessed more knowledge than several feudal lords saw in their whole lifetime. Quite frankly, it’s damaging to the soul.

Here’s why the best choice for your health might be to choose discretion over the kinds of links you click on.

Most of the content we find online is designed to reinforce our beliefs, and make us angry about them.

We live in an age of endless outrage. People are worked up in their opinions about everything. They think that more articles, more research, and more knowledge will help them–but it won’t. 

The truth is that we’re being manipulated.

Now before you bust out your tin hat and question whether or not I believe 9/11 was an inside job (it wasn’t), let me clarify: the algorithms and metrics which measure what people are looking at online are messing with us. 

They know what we believe by what we share, and they know what makes us upset by what we comment. And they keep feeding it to us

Even the stuff that runs contrary to our viewpoint has already been prepackaged by the outrage machine. It’s designed to violate our sensibilities so we rise up in reaction. This, by the way, is why Donald Trump is the perfect candidate: it’s like the internet became sentient and created the ideal politician who would enflame us all.

The only power we still have, until Skynet takes over, is to unplug.

We can get trapped in the false belief that reading = learning, and comprehending = growing.

This one gets to me in a big way. After I’ve clicked on several articles and watched a few videos, I get this strange feeling of accomplishment. But it’s hollow and it soon fades away.

I’m not trying to say we can’t learn anything from the internet. And sure, we can grow and change as our viewpoint evolves. But it’s real-world experience that gives our knowledge context and meaning! 

If we’re not careful, our mind will become a cluttered attic of ideas and discoveries which just don’t have a use. If you go outside, or if you call up a friend (instead of texting them), or if you just go into the back forty and chop wood for a while, you’ll emerge a better person.

Not because you’ve “learned” anything, in the traditional sense. But because you’ve had an authentic experience.

You don’t have to know everything. 

One of the most addicting new features on Facebook is the “Trending” section in the search bar. I’ve started checking there for breaking news… until I discovered just how much of this “news” had to do with the Kardashians.

This might surprise you, but I have nothing against the Kardashians. In fact, I have begrudging respect for their business acumen in our digital world. They’ve made an entire industry out of their antics–be it the size of their lips or other body affectations. 

My real issue is the “noise” these sorts of stories create.

We do not need to know everything about everyone else’s private lives.

There is no easier way to forget this than to spend time on the internet. It’s not just socialites and their ad campaigns–it’s coworkers and exes! It’s your cousin’s vacation photos. It’s the innocent and meaningless distractions that eat away at your time.

You don’t need all this information coursing through you: it’s just brain sugar. Empty calories. If you get to the end of your day and wonder what you did with it, you might have spent too much time on the internet! 

Of course, you got all the way to the end of this article–so the irony isn’t lost on me. (It’s like rain on your wedding day.) But this idea is as much for me as it is for you. We all need to reclaim a little bit more of our lives from the internet.

We all need permission to disconnect from the Matrix every once and a while.