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June 24th, 2018
Much of advertising is designed to appeal to the quick-solution-seeking, lazy parts of ourselves.
How successful would an advertising campaign be if the product proudly claimed that one had to work consistently every day for the benefits of the product to be realized. Advertising does the opposite, claiming that the product will make this hard work disappear, that the benefits will come effortlessly.
The truth is somewhere on the spectrum between these two extremes.
Technologies can drastically reduce effort and maximize benefit.
The design of the medieval plow underwent a huge change in Eastern Asia, giving birth to the modern shape of a plow and the use of the old design for centuries is claimed to be the single largest waste of human energy ever, due to the inefficiencies of the original plow shape.
But technologies do not always improve so straightforwardly.
Smartphones are undeniably more versatile but their effectiveness might be called into question if we are spending countless hours scrolling Facebook or Reddit. Just 20 minutes of this a day, say, in bed before falling asleep, adds up to more than 5 full days a year. Perhaps that doesn't seem like much. But how nice would it be to get 5 full days of sleep?
How long does 5 days feel if we couldn't eat for that long?
What if that 5 days was used to meditate? Instead of an endless stream of mostly forgotten information, we would have a calmer life, clearer thinking, more appreciation, gratitude and self control. How might this affect the other 1,420 minutes of each day?
Recently I saw this tagline: "the 57 must-have apps for entrepreneurs".
No entrepreneur has time for 57 apps, especially if they are trying to start a business.
Might the number of apps we have and the time we waste using some of them be a good metric for the good or bad state of our brains?
We have spring cleaning for the house and we take out the trash daily. Might the same be applied to our phones? Our brains?
Versatile technology means we are given a choice about how to use it. Will we use the technology to help us be better people or just placate the lazier parts of who we are?
Very few people are actually laughing out loud, certainly not as much as is claimed.
But those consistently using a meditation app to help them build a good habit are actively using technology to build better brains.
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