The Digital Vortex

Even without virtual reality headsets, it’s already easy to get lost in the digital world. I can tell a real difference between days where my first act is to open a window, breathe in the smell of fresh grass, and hear the birds sing, and days when I go straight to my phone or computer.

20 minutes of scrolling crypto Twitter here, 15 minutes of reading the news there, and don’t get me started on Youtube. Every minute, 500 hours of new videos show up there. That’s three full weeks of new things for you to watch — without sleep — every 60 seconds! With that kind of infinite selection, could spend your entire life there, never get bored, and it wouldn’t even be an accomplishment.

In Japan, more than a million people spend their lives as “hikikomori.” Modern-day hermits, if you will. They don’t leave their houses. They don’t interact with society, except perhaps through a screen — and given the options of what you nowadays can do through a screen — which is everything — I can’t blame them entirely for their situation. It’s hard!

But when I spent too much time living digitally, the quality of my life deteriorates. And I don’t mean just the non-digital parts. I’m not as nice of a human being when all of that being happens online. For all the video calls and profile pictures, the web still separates us from other people, and the more time you spend in this isolated-yet-social modus operandi, the more that separation starts to show.

You’ll say things you wouldn’t say if you had just come back from a walk. You’ll reply to emails as if they go back to robots, not people. And you’ll feel lonely, no matter how many likes your posts get. The only way to remedy these effects? Keep a dose of reality at hand.

Start your days by unlocking your window, not your phone. Maintain your connection with the natural world from which you came, and you’ll also maintain your connection with us — regardless of whether you form it during a stroll through the park or a scroll through the app.