How to Convince Yourself to Get Off the Internet and Actually Make Things

Contrary to the title, I have no h*cking idea How To Convince Myself to Get Off the Internet and Actually Make Things.

I feel like The Internet™ is an inescapable Black Hole that apes weren’t nearly prepared for. But everyone knows that already — I don’t need to tell you that. But nobody seems to have solutions for how to escape the Black Hole.

“Oh, I only hang out in the Black Hole ocassionally.”

I secretly judge people who unwittingly spend just as much time in the Black Hole as me.

It’s hard to know for sure, but here are some signs that you might be in the Black Hole without realizing it:

  • If you have a hard time explaining what you do with your free time, you’re probably a resident of the Black Hole.
  • If you spend time on social-media daily, you’re probably a resident of the Black Hole.
  • If you’re under the age of 79 or over the age of 65, you’re probably a resident of the Black Hole.
  • If you regularly binge-watch series on Netflix (or a comparable streaming service), you’re almost certainly a resident of the Black Hole.
  • If you’re reading this article (which you are), you’re literally in the Black Hole right now — go away!

“I will never escape the Black Hole.”

So I hope I’ve convinced you that you’re part of this category just like everyone else.

The Black Hole is a pretty textbook form of addiction: it provides relief from the discomfort it creates.

I probably watch anime because it helps me forget that I waste my life watching anime. Actually, anime is not nearly the worst of it — it’s the mindless pursuit of “wow, that’s moderately entertaining”. I could spend the rest of my life on 4chan (don’t look it up), Reddit, and YouTube, but I don’t want to. Sooooooo how do I escape? No h*cking clue. I guess I’ll write about how healther people live and see if I can find any insight there.

“Eh, I’ve got better things to do.”

So let’s talk about the category of people who never venture into the Black Hole. How the h*ck do they do it‽ Let’s dissect some of their traits.

“I don’t know how to use the Black Hole.”

I don’t think we can unlearn to use the Black Hole, but we can sure learn from those who never cared to learn!

I’m a total neophyte — I love my Shiny Things. But not everyone gets distracted by Shining Things. What do luddites have that I don’t? Maybe they care more about timeless things? That’s not a satisfying answer — I know plenty of luddites who don’t particularly care for anything.

I guess, by definition, they just somehow had no interest in harnessing the limitless power of modern technology. How could anybody not be enticed by it‽

I think the pursuit of Shiny Things is falling for the delusion that Shiny Things Will Make You Happier. It’s so obviously false. But I guess, to some degree, they just deep down don’t believe that The Black Hole Will Make You Happier.

I guess I haven’t fully internalized it. There is so much Good in the Black Hole — it seems like it makes me Happier. But maybe it’s illusory. Or just really complicated. Nothing can really make me Happier. I guess I know this, but how do I get myself to truly, deep down, really believe it? Maybe it’s small essays like this. Maybe it’s conversations with friends. Maybe it’s exercise, or drugs, or a spoon collection. I don’t know. But hopefully one day I’ll feel the fact that Shiny Things are not so cool. Hopefully.

Ah, what a defeatist I’m being. I’ll re-probe myself later.

“Sorry, I don’t have enough time for Your Favorite Part of the Black Hole.”

A large subset of Not the Black Hole residents select their media very carefully (or don’t select media at all).

When I recommend certain shows to people, they often say, “Isn’t that an anime?”, like it’s an insult or something. And they say “Oh, that’s not my style.”, and I’m somewhat relieved that they just saved themselves from becoming a particularly nasty species of Black Hole resident. But at the same time, these works of art touched me so deeply, and I want others to feel the same way I did when I experienced them! But I don’t want them to waste their lives away trying to gorge themselves on the infinite amount of art out there in the Black Hole. Why don’t I feel this way about myself?

To start, maybe I should set my standards higher. Maybe I should stop wading through B- content just to numb myself from whatever-else-is-going-on. I don’t know, there’s so much good content out there — maybe saving my time for the tried-and-true classics is good enough to last forever. But maybe I don’t want it to last forever.

“The Black Hole isn’t that interesting.”

Some people don’t know how Beautiful the Black Hole is. But in a similar way, I don’t know how Beautiful heroin is. And I don’t feel particularly interested in finding out.

I can’t unsee the Beauty of the Black Hole, so how do I escape? It feels so good to be outside, but I just find myself sinking into old habits over and over again.

I’m at a loss. Email me if you have suggestions.

Out of the Frying Pan…

I guess, in some sense, writing this essay was an escape from the Black Hole. I’m glad to be out for a little while, but I don’t know how I got here. And I don’t want to feel like I’m escaping the Black Hole (or anything else) for the rest of my life. So how do I become a permanent resident of Not the Black Hole? I’m starting to think that it’s a unique challenge for everyone, but I’m glad I wrote some notes for the short while I’m out here in Not the Black Hole.