Saturday, August 06, 2022

Digital Minimalism Summary

The Controversial:

  1. As more people are failing to cultivate the high quality leisure lives that Aristotle identifies as crucial for human happiness, they leave a void that would be near unbearable if confronted but can be ignored with the help of digital noise. Erecting barriers against the existential  is not new - before YouTube, we had mindless Tv and heavy drinking to help avoid deeper questions. If you begin decluttering Low value distractions from your life before you convincingly filled in the void they were helping you to avoid, the experience will be unnecessarily unpleasant.  The most successful digital minimalist cultivate high quality leisure before culling the worst of their digital habits. A phenomenon will happen where digital habits they they previously felt to be essential to their daily schedule  suddenly seem frivolous.

What it is saying is that before i go and cut Facebook, Wechat etc out of my life through some apps control or deleting them on my phone,  I need to to find activities to fill up the void/space that they leave behind.  At least before August 2022, I did not agree with this point of view.   One reason may be that I did not think that I did not want to fill up my schedule completely.

However, now I am coming around to that.  This is because now with a job,  I don’t really have to struggle with You tube or Wechat that much.  That is also  surprising on its own because I recall how I use to clock in 3 hours on weekends just watch Youtube just as a form of escapism.  That said, I lost the focus on my physical training because work is just so all encompassing and draining. “Flow” also stated how people found themselves most at flow during work with challenges and targets. Maybe, that is why a job is also good.

I just need to find a job that only sucks me for 6 hours or half a day, or I need to put that one/ two pursuits above my job - which many people may already be doing.

Amazing Lines:

  1. Aristotle proposed an idea that has persisted throughout the intervening Millenia and continues to resonate with the understanding of human nature today: A life well lived requires activities that serve no other purpose than the satisfaction that the activity itself generates.As the MIT philosopher Kieran Setiya expands in his modern interpretation of “Ethics”: if your life consists only of actions whose “worth depends on the existence of problems, difficulties, needs, which these activities aim to solve”,  you are vulnerable to the existential despair that blooms in response to the inevitable question: “Is this all to life ?” One solution to this despair , he notes, is to follow Aristotle’s lead and embrace pursuits that provide you “a source of Inward joy”.
  2. “Only thoughts reached by walking have value” Nietzsche
  3. Doing nothing is overrated. In a busy modern life, it is tempting to crave the release of having nothing to do - whole blocks of time with no schedule, no expectations, no activities beyond whatever happens to catch your attention at the moment. These decompressions have their place, but the rewards are muted, as they tend to devolve towards Low quality activities like mindless phone swiping and half hearted binge watching .  Investing  energy into something hard but worthwhile almost always return much richer rewards.
  4. Walden: “The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
  5. Walking: fantastic source of solitude. Our technical definition of solitude as freedom from input from other minds. Solitude deprivation problem : a state in which you spend close to zero time alone with your own thoughts and free from inputs from other minds.
  6. Minimalists don’t mind missing out on small things; what worries them much more is diminishing the large things they already know for sure make a good life good.
  7. The culminate cost of non crucial things we clutter our lives with, can far outweigh the small benefits each individual piece of clutter promises

Mediocre Lines:

  1. It’s easy to be seduced by small amounts of profit offered by the latest app, but then forget its cost in terms of the most important resource we possess: minutes of our life.
  2. The more you use social media, the less time you tend to devote towards offline interaction.
  3. Sherry Turkle : Connection - the Low bandwidth  interactions that define our online social lives.  Conversations -  high bandwidth that defines real- world encounters between humans. Anything that is textual or non- interactive - all social media, text and email - doesn’t count as Conversation but only Connection.
  4. Rogowski: “As our species  evolved, we did so as beings that experience and manipulate the world around us.  When you use craft to leave the virtual world of screen and instead work in more complex ways with the physical world around you, you are living truer to your primal potential.”
  5. Arnold Benett: ”What? You say full energy given to those 16 hours will lesson the value of the business 8? Not so. On the contrary, it will assuredly increase the value of the business 8. One of the chief things which my typical man has to learn is that the mental faculties are capable of a continuous hard activity; they do not tire like an arm or a leg. All they want is change - not rest, except in sleep”.
    • I cannot agree with that . The only thing I can appreciate is that after a long day of mental, I need to use my hands instead.
  6. Digital technology should be subordinated to a support role: helping to set up your leisure, but not acting as the main source of leisure itself
  7. The premise Cal Newport suggests is to cultivate a high quality leisure life first, from there, it will be easier to minimise Low quality digital diversions later.
  8.  If you are interested in commentary on political and cultural issues, experience is enhanced by seeking out the alternative view .

How to go digitally at a minimal:

  1. The minimalist technology screen: to allow an optional technology into your life after the end of a digital declutter, it must: a) serve something you deeply value, be the best way to use technology to serve this value (if not , replace with something better), c) have a role in your life that is constrained with a standard operating procedure that specifies when and how you can use it.

Practices in each chapter that we can put into use:

Leisure lessons:

  1. Prioritise demanding activities over passive consumption
  2. Use skills to produce valuable things in the physical world
  3. Seek activities that require real- world , structured social interactions.
  4. Walking: fantastic source of solitude- our technical definition of solitude as freedom from input from other minds.
  5. if You begin decluttering Low value distractions from your life before you convincingly filled in the void they were helping you to avoid, the experience will be unnecessarily unpleasant.

“Spend time alone” Practices :
  1. Leave your phone at home
  2. Take long walks

“Don’t click like” practices :
  1. Don’t click “like”, don’t comment on social media.
  2. Write letters to yourself
  3.  Consolidate texting.  - answer backlogged messages in a single stretch.
  4. Hold conversation office hours - 5pm every work day?

“Reclaim leisure” practices:
  1. Prioritise demanding activity over passive consumption
  2. Use skills to produce valuable things in the physical world
  3. Seek activities that require real world ,structured interactions.
  4. Fix , build something every weekend
  5. Schedule your Low quality leisure time just Ike in O levels
  6. Join something like Benjamin Franklin
  7. Develop a leisure plan

“Join the attention resistance “ practices:
  1. Delete social media from your phone
  2. Turn your devices into single use device.  Such that any website /app that profits from your attention is blocked by default , and made available to you on an intentional schedule.

No dancing girls on top

You Live only Once