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Some Thoughts About Scrolling

Stay with me. It's not what you think.

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Do not stop scrolling.

Just keep going, but pay attention. As your thumb slides up that screen over and over, feel into what you want. What do you still want that you didn’t get, each time you scroll to the next thing? (This is counter-intuitive, because you’re not going to want to stay awake. The system is designed to lull you to sleep.)

I’m saying, along with Rumi, “Don’t go back to sleep.”

Easier said than done. How do we push back on a brilliantly designed, culturally sanctioned, ubiquitous lullaby?

One way is to educate ourselves about what our unconsciousness does for the powers that be. I dare you to read this article about the movie “The Social Dilemma.” In it, Philip Sledge says, “There were multiple times while watching The Social Dilemma where I wanted to get rid of all my social media accounts, turn off my phone, and throw it out the window. And while that’s admittedly a little dramatic, the film will more than likely have that same effect on you.” In fact, I dare you to watch the movie.

Both the movie and the article came out in September 2020. Since then, we’ve been through a pandemic, an insurrection, too many mass shootings to even report, book bans, the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the undoing of Affirmative Action, and more.

What do we do with all of that trauma?

We go to sleep.


In the mountains? By the sea? Snuggled close to each other?

I wish.

No, no. That kind of trauma sends us right into our phones.

At least, that’s where I go. I open YouTube, and get my hit of endearing dogs loving their humans. That’s what comforts me. That, and comedy. And one hit is never enough. Once my thumb starts, I’m sound asleep — and none of it is ever enough.

So I get it. These platforms are designed to be addictive, and we should all wake up and — you know — get sober.

But then what?

How are we supposed to engage with one another, if this has become the main source of engagement?

Oh, the irony. I’m writing you about this problem on a social media platform. And even though this particular website doesn’t feel addictive, it definitely lives right next to the ones that are (FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). Plus, I’ll post this on those platforms, too, to make sure I reach you.

It’s like holding an AA meeting with all of us bellied up to the bar. But how else am I going to connect with you?


See? I told you it wouldn’t be what you thought. I’m leaving you with this question, and with an authentic desire that we sit with it, together.

Talk to me.

I believe in our collective wisdom.


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