Louis CK On the High Price of Technology Addiction

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By Kevin Burke, LSW

Many miles away

Something crawls to the surface

Of a dark Scottish lake

Synchronicity II, Sting

CNN reports that fifty percent of teens and twenty-seven percent of parents feel they are addicted to their mobile devices.

Comedian and social critic Louis CK says we can turn compulsively to the distraction and superficial affirmation of the social media world to avoid looking at the darker places within.

In an appearance on Conan he shared about an experience driving with his cell phone:

You know, underneath everything in your life there’s that thing…You know, it’s down there.

Sometimes when things clear away, you’re in your car and you go, oh, no, here it comes that I’m alone… But people risk ruining their own and taking a life because they don’t want to be alone for a second.

I was in my car one time and Bruce Springsteen came on…I was listening to “jungle land”…And I go, OK, I’m getting sad. I’ve got to get the phone and write hi to 50 people…You know what, don’t.   Just be sad.

The nature of many modern jobs means that cell phones and ipads keep workers perpetually connected and accessible to their employers and clients. The 24/7 demands of some jobs leave little time to disconnect, to be emotionally present to loved ones, and refresh the soul.

From CNN a founder and chief executive of a public relations firm feels the need to be continually available to clients:

“I had taken my son to a movie, and he turned around to me and said, ‘Are you serious…? We are at the movies and you are still on your phone?’ ”

Some of the latest research also suggests this immersion in the virtual world of social media, emails and texting may also be connected to the release of dopamine in the brain:

Holland Haiis, who wrote Digital Detox Program, shares:

“The dopamine in our brains is stimulated by the unpredictability that social media, emails and texting provide…”

This can leave us perpetually distracted and even serve as a type of self-medication for any painful or unsettling feelings and memories we are trying to avoid.

Opening the Windows of Your Soul

As Louis CK points out, this obsessive use of devices can also deny us the natural human experience of being deeply moved by something, and allowing powerful emotions to surface, even if they are initially painful. The body rewards the expression of grief with endorphins and the peace and relief that flows naturally from that process.[1]

Facing those deeper waters can lead us to ask questions about the ultimate meaning of life, our priorities and relationships.

In the journey to those places of emptiness and sadness you may discover there is a hunger for a deeper meaning that can never be filled by entertainment, social media and pornography.

Experts suggest setting strong boundaries around the use of phones and ipads and replacing the dopamine rush of social media with a walk, jog or bike ride.

Taking time for meditation, contemplation and prayer will also help free our minds, souls and bodies from an unhealthy attachment to this virtual reality.

We may begin to recognize that we are actually spiritually starving and begin to make time to feed our souls with prayer, study and worship of the One who gave us this gift of life.

The Cost of Denial

You may be surprised to learn that a past abortion experience can contribute to technology over-use and addiction.  This is a sensitive wound that many women and also men will go to great lengths to repress and deny.   People expend a lot of psychic energy to keep the memories and feelings buried, but over time this exacts a high cost.

Perhaps this constant immersion in our devices is working hand in hand with this denial.   In such a constant state of distraction you may never have that space to make the connection to an area of hurt or loss that requires reconciliation and healing.

Even though the journey to healing a past abortion, or multiple abortions, may arise from a time of solitary reflection, you will need the encouragement and support of others who have made this journey before you.  A trusted abortion recovery program is the safest and most effective way to recover from that loss.

 

[1] Dr. William Frey at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis discovered that reflex tears are 98% water, whereas emotional tears also contain stress hormones which get excreted from the body through crying. After studying the composition of tears, Dr. Frey found that emotional tears shed these hormones and other toxins which accumulate during stress. Additional studies also suggest that crying stimulates the production of endorphins, our body’s natural pain killer and “feel-good” hormones.” [Citation from:  Judith Orloth M.D.]

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