The ironic thing about our digital devices, is that they promise constant stimulation . . . and yet we find they end up making us feel numb. Numb in terms of struggling to be present. Numb in feeling overloaded with information and choices. Numb in feeling like we often view even our own experiences from a third-party perspective.

My guest today, Dr. Charles Chaffin, has written a book called Numb: How the Information Age Dulls Our Senses and How We Can Get Them Back, which explores the various ways internet-induced numbness manifests itself, from FOMO to choice overload on dating apps. On the show today we focus in particular on how the news media and social media can negatively alter the way we experience life and what to do about it. We first discuss how recovering our sense of engagement with life begins with thinking about the fact that our attention is a finite resource, and being intentional about how we direct that resource. We then discuss how to deal with what Charles calls the “attention panhandlers” who vie for our engagement online. Charles talks about the phenomenon of compassion fatigue, where there are so many worthy causes you could take up, that you end up doing nothing at all. We then discuss how Instagram can change the way you experience life in an age where we can all feel like content creators. We end our conversation with how to wrest back control of your attention, and use it towards action rather than distraction.

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in the Podcast

AoM Article: Attention Please! What Every Man Ought to Know About FocusAoM Podcast #420: What Makes Your Phone So Addictive & How to Take Back Your LifeOperant ConditioningB.F. Skinner’s idea to use pigeons to guide missilesAoM Article: Is There Any Reason to Keep Up With the News?AoM Article: Let Sympathy Turn to Action (includes quote by William James mentioned in the show)AoM Podcast #479: Becoming a Digital MinimalistThe Cadillac Ranch

Connect with Charles Chaffin

Charles on TwitterCharles’s Website

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The post Podcast #729: How to Fight Internet-Induced Numbness appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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