The ultimate forbidden thought is “None of this is real.”— Deepak Chopra, Metahuman
For many of us, we don’t live in reality … we just don’t. We live in a digital interface with reality.
It’s a series of screens that present us with a network of colleagues, characters, romantic partners and beating heart emojis that we use for communication.
According to a 2020 study from Vision Direct, the average American will spend 44 years of their lives staring at screens, and that’s only set to increase post-COVID. But why would we allow ourselves to be enslaved in a network of screens for half our existence?
Participation in the network is highly addictive, even more so than the most addictive drugs. The network is designed to manipulate your ego and stroke emotions of vanity, lust, boredom and fear to keep you coming back for more during every waking hour.
We stare at screens at work to make money so we can buy more screens and subscribe to more digital services. Then we feed them with our personal information and content in return for small hits of dopamine in the form of reactions.
While part of us craves freedom from this matrix, the other part fears it.
I’ve been exploring this theory while traveling through Brazil for the past month, mostly without a cell phone, as it was stolen from my pocket at a club in Rio shortly after I arrived. I still have my Macbook for messaging and travel planning when I return to my hostel. But during the day when I’m out I have no phone, no apps, no Google Maps, nada.
Interestingly many of my close friends and family have messaged me telling me I should not be traveling without a phone.
Why? For 99.9 percent of human history people traveled the earth without cell phones and made all of the greatest natural discoveries — you know those places where people now line up to take selfies.
When has someone ever made a discovery while taking a selfie?
Since losing my phone, I have taken a series of busses north from Rio, to Ouro Preto, to Lavras Novas, traveling 300 miles and gaining 5,000 feet of altitude along the way. It’s a route created by the Portuguese in the 17th century to extract slave-harvested gold and diamonds out of Brazil and into the pockets of The Crown.
I heard about this route from an American guy named Shayne whom I met on the street in Rio. Shayne has been traveling through Central and South America for two years and is one of the few international travelers I’ve met in Brazil. The rest have apparently been scared off by the Global Fear Network.
Since losing my phone I have chronicled my emotions and experiences in my journal, some of which I have transcribed here:
- Feeling much more peaceful and calm with no apps or notifications in my pocket and more fully present to my natural surroundings. (I had a deep connection with a colorful plant in my hostel.)
- Navigating through cities and towns is more enjoyable as I must practice my Portuguese with locals and rely on my internal compass, rather than Google which is a digital crutch.
- Sometimes I hear my old notification bell go off on a nearby phone and experience a brief rush of anxiety, until I remember I have no phone. Then I smile.
- Doing yoga and meditation regularly for the first time in a long time since losing phone, and have had enough Human Contact — as phones are totally overrated for facilitating that.
- Have no watch to tell time or alarm to wake me up. But use a combination of roosters, the sun, and church bells to track time — all of which are plentiful in Brazil.
Wait, what’s the point I’m trying to make. Oh yeah: we’ve been living in a computer simulation that is run by our Corporate Tech Overlords who dictate our actions through a series of addictive apps and notifications that cut us off from our natural surroundings. Essentially multinational digital drug dealers, they have enslaved much of the human race in Zombieland, with products that can be more addictive than heroin (44 years staring at screens).
On rare occasions that we humans are allowed to venture into nature we are restricted from enjoying it as we’re now conditioned to observe it through our phones. Or we’re preparing our next social media post to advance the standing of our Digital Avatars.
I too have succumbed to this addiction. But I’m now fully aware of it and actively seeking a cure, in nature.
Only the undying beauty of the universe has the power to replace the digital junk in our veins; much as Keith Richards had his smack-addicted blood swapped in a clinic in Switzerland in 1973.
I am not in a clinic in Switzerland, but rather staying in this mountain hostel in Lavras Novas, Brazil. There’s no other travelers so I have the whole place to myself, and the roosters to help me wake up.