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The Bane of the Sensitive -- Push Notifications

Updated: Jun 26

A military installation.

Moving to the countryside, away from everything and everyone I ever knew, was both relieving and saddening. While it was possible to endure not being able to meet with my family once a week or two, it made it difficult to adjust to my new residence at times. It is true that there is no yelling or car noise here, which is a great relief. However, even for a seasoned semi-hermit like myself, only seeing my neighbor on a regular day is not always easy.

I have started with this paragraph because I would like to use it as an analogy to what I am going to write about. The thing that I would like to describe as the "Bane of the Sensitive" is, simply put, what is called today the Push Notifications.

Push notifications are basically the driving force of a well-visited website or app. Their purpose is to encourage and preserve a steady stream of visitors and their interactions with the site/app and with other users who also use the product at hand.

Theoretically, if push notifications did not exist, or if everyone disabled them, many companies and startups would lose a lot of money. Even though I am not currently making a profit from Philosocom, those who use my push notifications are the ones that guarantee the fact that an article such as this will be getting views from visitors who have visited the site before, and not only visitors whose time here is their first.

However, push notifications have a darker side, whether one is sensitive or has an iron chunk instead of a heart. The fact that we can always be alerted whether or not something is going on, not only is very distracting at times when we need to be concentrated, it can also lead to anxiety, which by itself is a product of a higher sense of alertness.

There is no need to present studies here; ask any one who is currently anxious, and they'll tell you they are more alerted than usual, and if not alerted, then disturbed to an extent, in which case, they are unproportionally focused at the object of disturbance, which is basically a form of high alertness.

Why are many students in schools today unable to focus on the lesson, the assignments? One of the core reasons are the likelihood of their phones notifying them of something. That is one of the reasons we are required at cinemas, for example, to turn off our phones; because the notifications are too distracting even for others, and not only for the phone-holder.

The title I gave to this article and to the main subject, comes when push notifications go too far, and disturb your sense of peacefulness. One of my most "traumatic" (significant, I mean) moments were push notifications where haunting me was during the period I was using Facebook, and after an innocent comment I made on a post, I was "lynched" with a swarm of people I didn't know, ridiculing, shaming and offending me, all because I didn't understand something due to my autism, and people mistook it for genuine stupidity, even those that were willing to explain the matter to me.

If there is something I learned during my time with enabled push notifications, is that while not all people are scumbags, many, many of them are, happily willing to say things that might get stuck in your head and cause you great annoyance, and they won't care (who knows, even one of them is reading this article).

Whenever I received a notification of someone commenting, I unfortunately learned to be afraid; afraid not of the comment itself, but of the potential that my endeavours at building a sense of peace might go backwards a few days or even weeks. People don't know, some of them, don't care.

Because of the great hostility of some people, and because I still want to produce content for the world, I decided to disable all push notifications on any of my devices. I appreciate and am grateful for those who like and approve of my content, but because I am very disturbed enough with negative comments from the past, to the point of being haunted by them, I decided to leave the Push Notifications, so to speak, in the former, urban part of my life, so I can try and work on getting a sense of enduring peace in the more-solitary, quieter, countryside.

What I am trying to say is this: If you are above-average sensitive, and don't want your sensitivity to become your bane, instead of a virtue, I highly recommend turning off as many push notifications as possible, so the words of the hostile, regardless of motive, won't haunt your mind.

The internet is overall a wonderful place, giving you access to knowledge and entertainment beyond pre-modern imagination. However, with the ability to deliver anything to anyone in the world, it can also be a pretty terrible world to be in if you don't learn the importance of blocking the "right" people.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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