#24 - Is Dystopia Upon Us?
Why our digital selves have eaten away at our humanity
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1 Take 🌶️
I was originally planning to write about Bitcoin and why it’s not yet (but might eventually become) a safe haven asset during times of crisis, including the ongoing conflict in Ukraine — before I watched this video:
As a father who’s unashamed to admit that I tear up (and cry) when I have to leave my kids for a few days (biz trips, vacation, etc), this video straight-up broke my heart 💔. However, I’m also the same person who hours before seeing this, was concerned about how this conflict might affect my stock/crypto portfolio, if this might be the start of a more pronounced bear market, and what moves should I consider taking. How do I reconcile both of these emotions?
The short answer is I can’t. What I do know is that for me personally, a growing percentage of my time, focus, and energy is being spent on my digital self (vs. my physical self). If you think about it, your portfolio, the number of followers/users you have, etc - they’re all just numbers on a digital screen. Sure, they have a proxy to the physical world in that they can put food on the table - however for those of us who are fortunate, the link is tenuous at best. When you think about it, I would bet most of us (definitely including myself) care about those things more b/c we innately feel the need to compare ourselves against others and flex, not because we can eat more food or live in a more spacious place. And it’s much easier to keep score digitally.
We’re all so wrapped up in the digital world trying to one-up each other that I no longer worry we’re losing our grasp in the physical world - it’s already happening. I’m continuously guilty of this and I suspect if you’re reading this, you’re probably nodding your head too. It’s funny: I often realize in the moment that one day in the future, I’ll miss not spending more time hanging out with my wife, daughters, or friends - but doing something in the digital world is just so damn tempting that I can’t help myself.
So what can we do? For one, take a moment today and try to detach yourself from the digital world. Take a walk, hug a family member or friend. Longer-term, we need to figure out ways to set up healthier boundaries between the physical vs. digital worlds. Maybe have a “No phones Saturday” similar to how companies have no meeting days. I don’t have all the answers, but it’s something I need to spend more time thinking about. Otherwise, the dystopian futures described in movies like “The Matrix” or “Ready Player One” where we’re effectively just users for a digital metaverse are more realistic than we care to admit. And while that may make each of us live longer or be fantastically more wealthy that we could ever dream of, we’ll have lost our humanity - and that would be a terribly sad thing.
If you want to help the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, please check out United Help Ukraine or find another way to provide aid.
Thanks for this— an amazing perspective.