Low-level programming

Something about Instagram and TikTok is able to hack into people’s the low-level programming, and once it gets to a certain point there’s no real use in talking about will power or free will.

And you see it people who can’t take even a few seconds of boredom or lack of stimulation. You see it with people who have to take pictures of everything, stage everything, crave attention, and validation constantly.

We’re primates, after all. Having these sorts of apps with you all the time is simply too much to resist if you don’t get adequate amounts of socialization in real life. That was the other part of Skinner’s experiments: rats in fancy cages with plenty to do didn’t kill themselves via drug addiction.

And so we get cases like two Ukrainian women who filmed themselves dancing and twerking on their father’s grave, who had been killed in the war. My take is that a lot of people simply can’t control themselves anymore. They have to do things for attention on social media. Telling them to just stop it is no more effective than telling a fentanyl addict or alcoholic to just stop it.

One of the frustrating parts of Ukrainian society in recent years was just how over the top phones became. Go to a restaurant, and everyone is staring at their phone. Try to have a conservation and eyes are constantly darting to check for new notifications.

These sorts of things are cultural. I notice extreme phone obsession in Ukraine (and I imagine it’s only gotten worse since I’ve left) and the US. For whatever reason, I don’t see it to nearly the same degree in the Netherlands. You can look around a restaurant and see that most tables don’t have a single phone out.