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The Internet, Modern Technology, Materialism and Freedom -- How To Better Use Our Assets

Updated: 4 days ago

A network of water channels.

Synopsis by Mr. E. David, Mr. J. Igwe and Mr. E. Peter

The article explores the relationship between the internet, technology, materialism, and personal freedom. It challenges the notion that technology inherently drives excessive materialism, arguing instead that it is a neutral tool whose impact depends on how it is used.

The author advocates for conscious consumption and moderation in technology usage, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing meaningful experiences over fleeting possessions.
By recognizing the addictive nature of excessive consumption and consciously shaping our interactions with technology, we can transform it from a potential liability into a powerful ally in creating a better world characterized by empathy, compassion, and genuine connections.

Why the Internet and Technology Don't Dictate Your Spending Habits

Contrary to popular belief, the internet and technology are not inherently drivers of excessive financial materialism. They can be tools, just like any other invention, and their impact depends on how we choose to use them.

The internet, a tool capable of eradicating boredom, offers a wealth of resources for those seeking a simpler life. It could even make one more educated, and thus justify the degree fallacy. One can find guides on minimalism and financial independence. The very nature of the internet, a medium for diverse perspectives, doesn't discriminate against anti-materialistic philosophies.

An ascetic with an internet connection, for example, can still find ways to practice their values. Just as an ascetic can utilize the internet for spiritual exploration, technology predates consumerism. Even the simplest hut represents technology applied to a practical need.

Technology, too, is a broad term encompassing everything from a simple wooden shelter to the latest smartphone. While some technological advancements may be associated with luxury, technology itself is neutral in its existence. Whatever we choose to do with them is up to us. You could even use nuclear arms to prevent military conflict.

Even before the internet and the rise of modern consumerism, people grappled with the allure of material possessions. As presented with the drug lord fallacy, you aren't necessarily transformed by technology. Rather, technology, like with money, can allow you to express who you are with greater means.

Therefore, the internet and technology are not barriers on the path to reducing financial materialism, as they are tools and not active forces.

The key lies in moderation and understanding our own satiation points, compareable to food. It's up to us to harness these tools for good, prioritizing experiences and meaningful connections over fleeting possessions.

How Technology and the Internet Can Be Your Allies

The internet and technology in general, the ever-evolving tools we use, are often blamed for fostering excessive materialism, addictions, depression and social isolation. However, this narrative ignores a crucial truth: We often forget that we are more powerful than we think, and it depends on our inner strength to overcome the liabilities of technology. Remember that something being hard to actualize, doesn't mean it's impossible. A difficult ambition is still worth fighting for:

The challenge lies in our approach – in moderation and in finding satiation. Also, we should use technology to improve ourselves, and not the opposite. If we're sad and want to be happier, we should use technology and/or the internet for that intention in mind, until happiness is reached. If we are bored, we should use technology to find and occupy ourselves in activities that truly matter to us.

By the same token, if someone is sad, we can use the internet to reach out to them and lighten their mood. If they are suicidal, we can use our online time to actually help them to desire to be alive. What other great purpose the internet can have, other than helping people when they want to die? With it, we can have the means available to literally restore people's faith to live!

Through conscious moderation, and through understanding of our potential, we can gradually break free from the toxic affects of technology, and convert our usage of it, for the greater good: The greater good of ourselves, and the greater good of others.

By consistently practicing restraint, we can train our minds and bodies to crave less of technology's addictive potential. By consistently contemplating about a better world, we can use technology to work towards that ambition, one step at a time.

This detachment creates a new normal, where we can become comfortably content with less. Additionally, understanding the vast potential in ourselves, we can use the world-conquering presence of technology not to enable toxicity, but to reduce it, thus turning technology from temptation to asset.

This journey to independence starts by acknowledging the addictive nature of excessive consumption. Understanding ourselves by looking within, can help us use technology to consume less, and deem it a tool for a world with less suffering, and more empathy and comapssion.

Just like an overloaded stomach, our brains can become conditioned to crave more stimulation than necessary, by regularly conditioning our brains in dophamine-releasing activities. The key is to find satiation, that point where we feel satisfied with a moderate level of engagement, replacing the overwhelming need for more. That is not only how you could better overcome certain addictions, but also lose weight, too.

Like with technology, food is also a resource. By becoming more logical beings, we can make sure that our resources remain assets, and not something to aimlessly chase after.

Returning to food: you don't need a mountain of it to feel full, but you sure could use it to survive and work towards greater health. Both food and technology can improve your health, including on how you choose to use them. Overindulging creates a potential for addiction, much like overeating stretches your stomach.

Make sure you use assets for their benefit, so they won't become a liability for you later on. You might want to enjoy video games, but you shouldn't use them in a way that would deplete your finances. You might want to use social media to satiate your sexual needs. Maybe use it to find a partner, and not to get addicted to p*rnographic material.

See where I'm getting at, practically? Conscious Consumption is the way for a better life. According to The Momentum blog:

Conscious consumption simply means to engage in the economy with more awareness of how your choices impact the environment and society as a whole.
As a conscious consumer, every purchase reflects your core values and is an opportunity to vote for the world you want to see. With everything we want and need, one click away, becoming a conscious consumer takes commitment and a lot of mindfulness.

To combat the toxic effects of technology consumption, either reduce it, and/or use it for your own betterment. It might come with temporary discomfort, as habits usually do when challenged. However, it's like shrinking an overstretched stomach. As being a little bit hungry isn't necessarily bad, the same goes for discomfort. You can actually utilize discomfort, such as adversity, to improve yourself.

By consistently confronting our comfort zone, we can gradually reshape our neural pathways, and suit ourselves better for the lives we want to live. And what technology exists for, if not to ease discomfort?

Technology and the internet are powerful tools. Let's use them not as enablers of unnecessary suffering and mental health issues. Let us use them as allies on our path to conscious consumption and a life rich in genuine relationships, greater hope, and a better world overall.

Use it not like a slave would, endlessly chasing after the next dopamine hit. Use it to improve this world, as presented in the concept of "Tikkun Olam". Use it to fix hearts, not to break them. Use it to educate, not to make others miserable. The choice rests on you and on your awareness of it

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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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