Thinking Fast & Slow- Our Systems Weren't Built for This
There are things that take time and there are things that are immediate.
Emotion dumps are immediate. That's why notifications work so well as an intoxicant. That little red circle paired with just the right ping and you're helpless. You will open Instagram because you need to know who is taking you in. In Thinking Fast & Slow Danny Kahneman explains that this is System 1 taking over; an immediate, evolutionary response to an emotionally stimulating event. System 1 lives in seconds; you respond to your immediate emotional environment.
Relationships, empathy, good decisions, political opinions, mindfulness and deciding how you want to live are not immediate decisions. They take time and in some cases, ideally, a serious amount of time. This is System 2; the long-term system that absorbs what System 1 has offered and makes a judgment call around that intuition.
Our tech systems were built with a fear & loathing of System 2. This likely explains ugly phenomena like Africa Fatigue; we engage with the world via notifications and sound bites and imagine that we're showing empathy. This isn't possible. Empathy takes time. We imagine when we do a 4-minute meditation track on the next great app that we're being mindful. This isn't possible. Mindfulness takes time. We imagine by sending our friends an emotionally jarring notification that we are improving our relationships. This isn't possible. Relationships take time. We imagine ourselves political pundits after having watched a 90 second sound bite of Trump saying something ridiculous. This isn't possible. Strong political opinions take time. You've seen countless Instagram influencers traveling the world doing what appears to be nothing and you fancy yourself a free spirit. This isn't possible. Deciding what constitutes a good life takes time; in some instances, every minute a person has.
Our systems weren't built for us to take time. Perhaps we will look to free up some of it today.