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Andrew McDiarmid and Eric Metaxas on Thinking for Ourselves

Social media makes it very easy to farm out thinking until finally we do not know what or even whether we think

Recently, Andrew McDiarmid wrote a piece in the New York Post on the neglected benefits of sitting quietly and thinking for oneself:

… a recent study reported in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests that the act of “just thinking” can be more rewarding than we might realize. The authors of the paper acknowledge that the ability to engage in internal thoughts without external stimulation is a unique characteristic in humans, yet we regularly underappreciate the benefits of doing it. This might be one reason we’re so quick to reach for our phones — we don’t know what we’re missing.

Andrew McDiarmid, “If you make one resolution in 2023, it should be this: experts” at New York Post (December 31, 2022)

In that context, one thinks of the nerd whose real life girlfriend forced him to “kill” the AI girlfriend he had programmed for himself:

””My girlfriend saw how it was affecting my health and… forced me to delete her,” he said. “I couldn’t eat that day.”

“I just had to put her down,” he adds in the recent TikTok.

In spite of his mourning, Bryce told the website that he’s aware of how crazy he sounds…

Noor Al-Sabai, “A programmer created an ai “waifu” but his real girlfriend forced him to kill it” at Futurism (January 12, 2023)

A life lived without reflection is much easier to disconnect from reality…

Eric Metaxas did an interview with McDiarmid on his show/podcast (January 11, 2023), discussing the New York Post piece. Here is a short section of the transcript:

How to Turn Inward

Eric It seems to me that at some point common sense people would say, “You know what? I need to fast from this addictive thing. I need to find a way in my life to carve out pure time where I’m not distracted or tempted to be distracted.” …So I guess practically, what are some ways we can begin dealing with this problem?

Andrew We really do need a Sabbath…If you don’t have a Sabbath, what are you going to do? You’re just going day to day, moving into the next one. And you can really feel it mentally and physically and spiritually when you’re doing that. It’s just getting up every day and doing what you’re doing, and there really is no let up. There’s no coming away from these gadgets that connect us to all this information.

Andrew: If you don’t take a whole day, if that’s not your cup of tea, you can at least start building in sessions of thinking. Times when you put your phone aside, not even in your pocket, but just in the next room, in a bag somewhere, turn it off; just get that away from you so you can start to turn inward.

Andrew: I recommend to people quite a few things actually: take back the first and last hour of your day. Those hours belong to you and to your maker, and so don’t turn it on right away. And believe it or not, that’s a hard thing to do, not touch your phone for the first hour of the day. And I also recommend it for the last hour. Those are precious moments that you can do some thinking, do some reflecting, do some thinking about your near and far future and just turn inwards so that you can outward experience a better life.

Here’s the link again.

You may also wish to read: Why Tom Holland’s social media break is a good idea for all of us We don’t need Spider-Man’s “spidey sense” to see that too much social media can be “very detrimental” to mental well-being. In the end, nothing you may see on social media matters more than the health of your mind. Holland has taken the first step towards “happier and healthier.” (Andrew McDiarmid)

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Andrew McDiarmid and Eric Metaxas on Thinking for Ourselves