"I think I’d like to say only that they [young people] should learn to be alone and try to spend as much time as possible by themselves. I think one of the faults of young people today is that they try to come together around events that are noisy, almost aggressive at times. This desire to be together in order to not feel alone is an unfortunate symptom, in my opinion. Every person needs to learn from childhood how to be spend time with oneself. That doesn’t mean he should be lonely, but that he shouldn’t grow bored with himself because people who grow bored in their own company seem to me in danger, from a self-esteem point of view."
This is from decades ago. It's easy to suspect we live in the age of noise, but I feel it's likely the perception is exaggerated much like the notion our times are particularly turbulent - in reality the past was plenty turbulent too.
However, to add to the point about noise: Often I just want to go have a few drinks with my friends, but there's virtually no place where you can do that, without getting bombarded by way-too-loud music. The only places I could think of where that would not be the case are working-class watering holes where people my age apparently don't like to go anymore. I'd love for us (I'm living in Austria) to have more of a pub-culture like in England, where it seems to me, it's more accepted, also among young people, to just sit in a bar, have a drink and be able to talk to another.
I once read an article (it was a paper, so long time ago) about late Roman Empire customs. Young people used to fill the circus for massive, noisy concerts. No electric instruments, so the noise was achieved using lots of percussion. Also long hair and ripped trousers. Nihil novum...
Do you also recommend Nostalghia? Found out about it because it is inside Jon Blow's latest game.
But now we're in film-nerd territory, not nerd-film... :-)
Sadly, I've noticed this with myself and friends.
We'll be playing a game together on PS4 and instead of just naturally carrying a conversation during a loading screen, a friend will pick up their phone and check their messages. A break in between plays, and yes, they'll check their messages. Check the score. Check a webpage. Sometimes my friends will literally be distracted from playing the game by checking his phone.
It's not until we're sitting at a table eating food for which all distractions are off the table.
Even when I'm tackling a tough problem like a programming challenge or trying to type a detailed reply, instead of sitting with the problem in my head I find myself trying to quickly distract myself. Instead of giving myself 10 minutes to struggle and think, I'll open a new tab and take a quick break to YouTube or HN.
I have noticed that I'm in that very distracted state, one thing I find helpful is to meditate for 10-20 minutes. Just accept the fact that I'm being 'inefficient' for that time and slow down. Reset. Breathe and let my mind kind of settle. I find that if I keep doing that over a course of a day, I'll find that I'm more productive and able to think about things instead of constantly demand to be distracted.
Last night I was awake at 2am just thinking I would like to just purge all phones and computers from my house, permanently.
I'm not entirely blaming the devices; However, this behaviour is unsustainable.
I've also noticed a worrying trend, my parents are getting more and more addicted, I feel they have less change of realising it and getting help.
Then my friend, who is a much better runner than me, told me he likes to keep it simple. None of that stuff, just a Garmin watch for pacing/tracking reasons.
So I've started running "quietly" as well. It's great. Not only am I exercising my body, I'm cleaning my mind.
As a programmer, I've discovered that I almost always do better work, faster, if I've been taking my walks and exercise without audio entertainment. Don't know whether that happens for other people as well, but it's been pretty consistent for me.
(I do still wear cheap earbuds during exercise, though; you get far fewer interruptions when people assume you won't be able to hear them!)
A device will interfere between your inner self and your surroundings. Ideal when your surroundings are shitty.
On the contrary, the lack of device will "force" you to search and find a nicer surroundings.
Introspection vs connection, choose your side.
I'd say novelty is important too. Whenever I do smth in new location or listen to new music, there's next to zero introspection. The usual location or known music seem helps introspection. In addition to that, if the location is unpleasant, it's hard to get into introspection mode.
TL;DR known-but-nice locations are best for introspection runs :)
 One did 240+ in 2017; the other 120+. Both broke the relevant records.
You brain knows how to fill the time. You may be afraid because you know what you brain will fill it with. But it may be worth to listen to what you brain has to say and try to get to terms with yourself :)
I think I know how you feel. I love long solo runs/rides/hikes. I'd lie if I said I was never afraid of random thoughts popping into my head.
I look at it as sort of meditation. There're plenty of articles regarding fear of meditation. Check them out. You're not alone afraid of being alone.
Let's not over diagnose this :)
Just sharing my experience. Unease usually doesn't come from nowhere. Everybody is different though.
Of course, no earbuds will block out the smell. (trains here dump their toilets onto the train tracks; it's officially not allowed to use toilets at stations, but it's not enforced).
I have taken some preventative measures. I have not gotten a new phone yet, and do not plan to until totally necessary (using an iPhone 6s currently), since most new smart phones are appealing only in the ways that matter if I increase engagement with my phone, which is the opposite of what I'd like to do.
It's this awareness of addiction, or at the very least, being multiple company's sucker at once via their products, that is most disheartening. We are able to function right now going on and off the devices/apps/games/feeds, but when will be the point at which weaning off of these things creates real withdrawals, and will we be able to identify that transition if it ever occurs?
I'm gonna go sit on my couch now...
You may want to test that.
Damn it. That's exactly what I'm doing right now. Back to the task at hand...
The above quote reminds me of this quote by the mystic poet, Rumi: "Deafened by the noise of wanting and desire you are unaware the beloved lives in the core of your heart. Allow the noise to silence and you will hear her voice."
I have this quote written in the first page of my Moleskine planner, where it states "In case of loss, please return to:". I think what this quote means is that we often experience the world through our perceived identity. But it’s not a definite perception, it’s more of a changing figment. Its sometimes difficult to just sit back and relax, we have all these wants and desires. But beyond this noise, there lies in the core of our heart what some refer to as our natural state, unmodified and unbound by the mind. We all have moments when we forget about ourselves like when we sense something of beauty: when we cry for ten minutes in the dark of our room and the neck of our shirt becomes soaked with tears and then we go to our backyard and look at the night sky, or when we see an authentic interaction, true forgiveness, natural compassion, warm understanding. A state where we feel at an effortless ease. This state is the ‘open secret’, readily and always available to us, unfortunately, all too often we are "deafened by the noise".
I started taking my book to the city's gardens on weekends. I found the first time I went there, I plonked down on a bench, and the months of constant engagement finally caught up to me. I sat doing nothing for at least an hour, and didn't even bother with the book.
I haven't felt that level of mental exhaustion since I cut out what engagement I can. That day was such a contrast against how I normally felt that the decision to go lower tech was easy.
Every now and then it creeps back insidiously, and I find myself mindlessly flicking around the web or my phone if I have it with me. I can always tell when I am slipping when I get out to the gardens again, and I feel the exhaustion. It serves as a kind of barometer for my mental state, because it can be really hard to tell when you are burning yourself out.
Too Much Music: A Failed Experiment in Dedicated Listening | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16158888
The diluvial [flood] nature of modern media leaves us little time to pause. The challenge, then, is to cultivate the patience and the discipline necessary to engage more deeply than the modern world allows. Just because we are flooded doesn't mean we have to drown.
HN user kenning summarized it this way (talking about Facebook specifically, but I believe the comment applies):
I think cigarettes are a great comparison. I heard it a few years back.
When popular, a huge amount of the population used cigarettes despite growing research showing that it had a slight but consistent harmful effect. A hooked individual is unlikely to stop using even when given this evidence, as the product is addictive and gets stronger with network effects. Younger generations understood the harm better and had to avoid regular temptation to engage.
We need accomplishment, entertainment and distraction because we're supposed to live like we have no choice. But we have, and nobody can save us from ourselves.
Changing jobs, leaving your family, moving to another city.. we all have some deep urges we keep suppressing, ranging from trivial to life-changing, and to keep them away, we cover them with fears that unearth when the distraction pauses and make us seek more distraction before we notice our real issues.
So, I decided to fact-check that nonsense.
Found an article from the Telegraph  which links to an older article  which supposedly supports that claim. But it isn't mentioned there. It only says that Golfish “can remember where they found food up to 12 days previously.”. The university itself explains the “media feeding frenzy” around the research  but does not actually dispute it. Also, the Microsoft study seems to have been reported without context . The article says that, “it turns out that there is no evidence that goldfish - or fish in general - have particularly short attention spans or memories, despite what popular culture suggests.” Finally, I found another article which did some in-depth research into proving these misleading claims false .
On the one hand, if say Tibetan prayer gongs, or trees swaying in the wind, are your Pavlovian triggers for relaxed centering, with VR, zing, you're there. And with eye tracking and other biometric and task monitoring, you might even autotrigger them upon need.
On the other hand, checking you're phone? How last decade. With AR, you can immerse yourself in your phone 24x7. Your friends are all around you - the open office^H life plan. And Bubblegum Troll is playing with your cat.
They may be, but only after you have trained them. You can get a quick dopamine hit from say browsing reddit and feel relaxed but it’s not deep. The point of meditation is to train the mind to do that thing - sit still, focus on the mantra, whatever it is you’re doing. The byproduct is that over many repetitions this state becomes more natural and after many more repetitions even accessible at will. The AR monastery will be nothing more than another shallow fix without training it to be so. The goal state is fairly independent of external stimuli. I see AR/VR as being nothing more than another potential distraction.
While there, spend time in meditation. Maybe start with 5 minutes at a time, and try to increase it over the course of the retreat. Go on long walks. Read some books and do some journaling, but limit your reading/journaling time.
I think 3 days is the bare minimum, because I find that it takes me 2 days to get my head out of my day-to-day life.
The downside (?) is that when you return to the real world, you will realize just how noisy and stressful it is. Just turning my cell phone back on activated a stress response in me the last time i retreated.
Once you return to the real world, continue to spend time in daily solitude (alone, silent, and still).
I've found this practice makes a big difference in my level of self control.
Other things that have helped me: creating a daily task list for myself, each task being short and clear and relatively easy to do. Break big tasks down into smaller, bite-sized ones. Try to do the most important ones first. If there are particularly egregious tasks, assign a reward to each and do them early. (The reward might be, "If I finish this task, I'll go out for a walk / get a nice porter at the pub / read Hacker News.")
Just sit there and wait for the build to finish. Look out the window if you have one close.
Ten years ago or so, I did a meditation retreat. The first two days of silence and having my eyes closed were hell, I craved for music, TV, chatting with people, etc. Somehow the small daily distractions seemed fundamental to surviving.
I was ready to pack up and leave and told the instructor so during the next daily talk. He smiled and said 'ok, we'll make sure that you get refunded'. Somehow, his light and humorful reaction made me realize that my brain had built a monster out of my cravings and that I let it dominate my will completely. After our chat I could more easily see the craving for what it was. During the remainder of the retreat it would sometimes rear its ugly head again, but I could just observe it as 'oh, that's craving again'. It comes and it goes away.
The nice thing was that after those initial two days, I got a lot calmer and my brain clearly started processing things from the past.
I touch my computer 400 times a minute, it doesn't mean I'm addicted, just means I'm typing.
Seems like a strange factoid that's just there to shock/scare us.
This whole article seems to be a strange mix of not knowing what point it's trying to make and random quotes.
>To shut out the world — to sometimes experience silence — is, as I write in my book, not about turning your back on your surroundings, but rather the opposite: it is about searching for your own South Pole, seeing the world a bit more clearly, and trying to love your life.
What does that even mean? I guess it would make sense if he had covered any of those points already but he didn't really.
With a growing family, I find it's about getting some 'me' time. I've found it tricky to even just shut the door.
Well, by people I mean me. YMMV.
I had a lovely ride in a glider, but its hardly silent up in the sky either: air is noisy moving over your flight surfaces.
I think silence is a manufactured state: noise is a subjective qualitative thing. As I lay in an MRI recently I found myself counting time-beats as the head rotated, groups of four, groups of eight (its very noisy btw)