Tarun's blog

I'm an addict

I like watching videos. A lot in fact. Today, I've spent over 6 hours watching youtube videos, an hour of reading through comments[1] on hacker news, 3 hours of sleep and poof, the day is gone.

Self trust, memory and the invincible autopilot: I can't trust myself. Cause: I'm simply incapable of doing things I've set out to do. Simple things. Everything is difficult. I overpromise and not deliver. Writing this post is very difficult in fact. I would switch to comforting myself by watching youtube if not for cold turkey (Site blocking software. Highly recommended. No affiliation). I say to myself as I write this, "I will sleep early tonight". But there is a 95% chance of that not happening. I'm not talking about what I think the cause is (I'll come to that later), this is just something I do or "happens" to me everyday.

Another angle that makes this ever more distressing is that my memory is very, very fallible. I have a folder of text files in which I have written things from ADHD self-help books to anti-procrastination videos to random txt files I have written in the spur of the moment, all intending to right my path. A simple script shows me that there is around 2500 words of strong convictions that I've set to myself, not counting several other ones I wrote in different note taking systems. I can confidently say that I've done nothing I said I would do there. The thing is, I forget that I wrote them. My mind or I forget about the fact of their existence. Maybe visibility is a problem. I should have written it on the wall behind my PC. But the fact remains. I'll move to the hall across my bedroom and there goes everything out the window. I'm a blank slate.

Being the eternal hedonist I am, I indulge in pleasure every chance I get. Staying up late to get a quick dose over grogginess next day, sign me up. Avoiding difficult calls with hours and hours of pleasure seeking, a 100% I'm in. The pleasure I gain from these lowly enjoyments is so consistent that I'm not sure I'm conscious half the time everyday. I become a zombie whose only objective is pleasure and any moment spent not doing something or anything is to be avoided. I run on autopilot on most days.

An aside: The only time I went without Reddit and YouTube was 3 weeks back. When I think back to those days, I think the only difference between during those time periods was self awareness. I knew what would happen if I watched a single video of any sorts. So as an abstainer I made the smart decision of never even looking in the general direction of the TV when my family was watching it. Blocking video streaming sites using cold turkey (and not unlocking it) meant it was difficult to watch on my PC. I kept my phone on focus mode and only used chrome 5 minutes at a time during breakfast or other restless times.

Luke would say I'm doing what I'm doing because I LIKE it. NGL, I like it. I love it. During the week-long abstinence stint, I was reading through comments in a post on esports careers and got to this. I've watched the video since, but at that moment after all the avoiding I did, watching just a few seconds (I think it was 5 or 10 seconds maybe), I knew how powerful of a medium it was. I knew how dangerous it was. I think we (internet/video junkies) underestimate how enjoyable videos are. Just go a week without them and watch a video of your favourite content creator. It feels gooood... I forgot the satisfaction I was after without forgetting the behaviours which drove me to continue watching. I used to disrespect them and think it is absolutely within my power to use them wisely. But I have around now. I don't know anything about the company, but thousands of smart engineers and billions of dollars went into creating the experience we have when we interact with them, not discounting the content itself, which has gotten pretty good. I gotta respect the effort it takes to get over that. I gotta forgive myself if I fall into the spiral of endless consumption.

Is it really THAT bad? I'm sure that besides disappointing myself and my parents, I could continue doing what I'm doing. If I give in and not resist, if I don't set any goals whatsoever, I could live without much trouble I think. It would be so easy. I don't want it though. Remembering the times when I worked hard, I can confidently say I was more aware. If I am aware of what I'm doing, and I seek awareness as the thing that could get me out of this quagmire, I would never do this. I know that working hard on things I hate is the right path precisely because I hate doing it so much. Hatred and difficulty point in the direction of something worth doing. I don't know of any situations where this is false.

Getting over it: Besides blanket ban on all things video and social media, I don't think I have a better solution. Cold turkey on the laptop, always on focus mode and avoiding looking at the general direction of the TV screen when in the hall is the only solution that worked for me. I don't know what I will be doing in the next 10 minutes, let alone the next day. But I know this. When I have a precious visit from lady awareness and my thought is the clearest, I know this is not for me.

I had to (did I really?) search for this video for a while and watched it (oh god), but at around the ten minute mark, Andreas talks about why he named his project 'Serenity', his relation with addiction and how it's a part of him.

I wanted to give it a name that would always remind me of this thing that I didn't want to lose and don't want to lose and can't afford to lose. The knowledge that I'm a life long addict and I simply cannot have drugs or alcohol [...] I am completely allergic to it and it takes over my entire life in no time if I allow them in. And that's not because there is anything wrong with drugs or alcohol [...] It's just that I, Andreas, cannot handle these things.

I think I can follow his lead and say I am an addict.

[1] Reading long articles is tough. Sifting through comments on the other hand - pretty comfortable.

#life #general