Yesterday was the first day of my new experimentation:
Stopping the flow of a regular habit.
The habit = Regularly watching senseless videos on YouTube.
Yesterday, I successfully tolerated all my impulses to touch the YouTube app on my phone or press y + Ctrl Enter on my laptop web browser.
The reasons of experiment were:
- I got aware that I was watching way too much senseless videos
- I worried about how those videos might be affecting my feelings and imagination
- I wanted to find out if watching videos contributed to my constant agitation and anxiety.
The worst part was that I had developed the habit of playing nonsensical cricket discussion videos on YouTube in the background every time I tried to go to sleep. The app on my phone tells me that Monday alone, I watched around 4 hrs of videos on YouTube.
So, yesterday morning I thought it would be a nice idea to go cold-turkey on my video-watching habits and see what changes take place in me.
Achievement: I didn’t watch a single video.
I’ll go over a couple important things I was thinking yesterday. It was surprising how long it had been since I thinked with such flow. It appeared as though my habit of watching videos had turned off my brain.
One major change I would like to express right away is that I slept well and dreamt vivid after a while.
Anyway, here are the thoughts:
- Be careful on whom you listen to: Listening to ordinary people on a regular basis can be disastrous to your life.
Ordinary people: They are those who aren’t related to us and who aren’t our friends; they are those who aren’t mature in an intellectual and emotional sense.
Now, it’s not hard to notice that platforms like YouTube, TikTok and more or less all social media are filled with such people. Regularly listening to them, especially on sensitive topics, means we are being deliberately or unconsciously led by ignorance because they don’t care about us (since they don’t know us) and because they aren’t mature enough to teach us. Which, as you may imagine, is not at all healthy.
People who don’t know us but have have devoted their life to learning— even if they are strangers to us — might have acquired some wisdom to impart. If their hard-earned knowledge might not be useful to us, they might not be harmful either. But any bicky-dicky with an opinion can provide us nothing but senseless information. Even the advice that they give can have serious consequences to our thinking as what they provide aren’t the product of care-for-us or hard-learning.
There are many with the habit of sharing their intimate information on the internet, which gets videod and then commented on by random strangers. My point is, if sharing our feelings on social media (or hearing about your problems there) was to solve our crisis, why would we need friends/families, why would we need art and why would we need education and learning? It won’t work. Our issues work deeper than the level at which social media interactions occur!
- Is my video watching, my mental weakness? — Noticing how even a short abstinence from video watching had opened the floodgates of my thoughts, I wonder if I watch videos or stroll around the internet when I am afraid to think for myself or weak to use my own imagination.
When I go on a YouTube video watching binge, I have the choice of selecting from millions of videos, which allows me to skip or fast-forward a video if I don’t find it to be as mind-numbing or enjoyable as intended. Which may imply that I have been using videos as a means of sucking-up all of my thoughts — to escape from my own head — which I do think is a weakness because, in ideally world, I would want to solve my thought-problems rather than ignore them.
What I did during the break, however, was read books and what I found amazing was that reading a book now feels like a meditation. Now, considering how some thinkers of the pre-internet/TV days condemned too much of book reading as a sign of reading-so-you-don’t-have-to-think, one can imagine how deep they lived than us!
- Is video watching a form of manipulation? — When I was younger, I remember learning a common success lesson from my grandfather and from some ‘you can do it’ book:
‘Successful/great’ people don’t spend their time around petty people or gossiping. They dwell in great ideas and deeds.
While thinking on my bed, I wondered if any successful person (not in financial/social sense but as in the master of his/her art) of today would spend their time watching senseless YouTube videos. They would probably be either honing their craft or reading a great book on life.
This made me question if senseless video watching is equivalent to spending time around petty people and gossiping. Which would mean such watching is a form of manipulation from the ‘system’ side — to keep you ordinary, to keep you a sheep! Why else would such platforms exist?
If I can continue this break, it may teach me the advantages of video watching and I may end up watching even more of them. It may also mean I will quit video watching altogether and maybe, become an activist.
Let’s wait and see: only time shall tell!