I found Digital Minimalism compelling, and much better thought out than most similar texts given eg the focus on having a high-quality leisure life.
Outline of Digital Minimalism:
- digital media is advertising-driven
- makes money by stealing your solitude
- which you need for agency
- so resist by:
- ...starting from minimalism
- ...building a high-quality leisure life
- ...optimizing tech use for personal value
The smartphone interacted with the advertising industry by massively increasing the advertising time available and the accuracy with which ads could be delivered
The features people typically quote as being valuable in social networks are the early features, which did not require addictive feedback loops
The heavy mobile focus of advertising implies that the mobile versions of social media must be more time-consuming
When the iphone was first released, Steve Jobs was dismissive of the idea of a general purpose device - it wouldn't be reliable enough
People don't succumb to screens because they're lazy, but instead because billions of dollars have been invested to make this outcome inevitable
The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they're friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they're just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children.
An intuition pump for the value of social media: imagine facebook started charging by the minute - how much time would you spend on it
The unusual pull of social media may be because social cognition is the main activity of the default network
'Likes' etc create an approval signal which the social survival mammoth feels the urgent need to monitor
When bingeing on digital entertainment, notice that it isn't actually making me happy
Solitude - a state where your mind is free from input from other minds
The ability to suppress boredom by glancing at a smartphone or listening to music causes solitude deprivation
Solitude deprivation - a state where you spend near-zero time alone with your own thoughts
Solitude is important for attaining perspective and sparking agency
Solitude may be important for regulating emotions and general cognitive housekeeping
I am here alone for the first time in weeks, to take up my “real” life again at last. That is what is strange—that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened. Without the interruptions, nourishing and maddening, this life would become arid. Yet I taste it fully only when I am alone...
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. ...They honestly think there is no choice left. But alert and healthy natures remember that the sun rose clear. It is never too late to give up our prejudices.
Addiction to digital noise feels like losing control
Attractors in leisure life:
- digital noise crowds out high-quality leisure
- lack of high-quality leisure causes boredom which can be dulled by digital noise
Attractors in self-worth:
- dwindling of physical crafts removes the main source of unambiguous self-worth - "I made that"
- social media offers a substitute source of self-worth - "look at how funny I am, look at how nice my life is"
Digital minimalism - a philosophy of tech use where you only use a small set of tools chosen and optimized for their unique contribution to your personal values
Intentionality has costs and rewards, but it is also satisfying in it's own right - it brings a sense of control and agency
Budget by beginning from a minimalist but satisfying life, and then measuring how much time must be sacrificed to pay for additional luxuries
The only thing that counts towards maintaining a relationship is real-time human conversation - not text
Leisure rule 1: Prioritize demanding activity over passive consumption
Leisure rule 2: Use skills to produce valuable things in the world
Leisure rule 3: Seek activities that require real-world, structured social interactions.
Rogowski's advice on happiness: Leave good evidence of yourself