May 22, 2019
I am so depressed about the last two episodes of Game of Thrones I have to read some Stephen King to cheer up. Just under 18 million viewers watching during its release and the millions around the world who will stream it. As a population we have watched the author Martin’s saga unfold(with many adjustments by HBO) over the course of 8 years in a ritualistic stupor feeling real feelings for those we know are fake. We can call them “fealings.” God forbid I ever actually encounter one of the real humans starring in the show, for reality would split with no undo button. (Although I have met famous gents Bill Murray and Luke Walton, for another tale..)
Many of us spend countless,(or counted, there is an “app for dat!” on iPhone) hours worshipping our screens, our mechanical overlords, but why? Our curiosity leads us to the edge and our dopamine reward system keeps us coming back for more. And here we are on our screen. At least we are together.
The major problem is we… are not actually together. The billion users of the web do not substitute for human interaction.
At times I reflect as the last standing millennial. It is a term coined for an age group starting with those born in year of the Wood Rat, 1984. It is used in a derogatory fashion more often then not. The fact that we are somehow separated from those born in 1983, makes no sense at all since I cohorted (not a word, I know) with that age group even more so then those born in the 90s! I remember the 90s they don’t, how are we the same?
They might remember phones corded to the wall and black and white televisions, or not. In my lifetime and those older then me we have ridden this crazy wave of transformation of total media dependence. I went to Burning Man once in 2006, I did not own an iPhone, no one did. Isn’t that a blessing?
We must regain control of our brains by limiting media’s influence of our life, but mostly our brain chemistry which directly affects hormone balance, mood, fatigue, sleep patterns and pretty much any system you can think of.
If you keep your phone in your bra you may increase your chance for breast cancer, in your waistline- ovarian cancer, colorectal… You can start to get the picture. They no longer call our handy to-go computers “laptops,” so please use a pillow or a table instead of your lap.
Many of us don’t head the warnings, we have this inert draw to danger. Because life is dangerous. Instead of the thrill of the hunt and watching the stars to survive we are just like “ oh, one soda won’t kill me.” “Just a quick phone call melting my skull with an electronic device has worked out for me this far.” “Let’s go watch dancing with the stars!”
As a society we struggle with the discipline to follow things that we know harm us, in part because the machines have trained us to do so.
The commercials used to say something like this:
“A teaspoon of sugar is only 18 calories! When you eat to many calories it makes you fat and no one will want to marry you or if you are married your husband will leave you! Sugar is great because it suppresses your appetite. Also try cigarettes, they are Doctor recommended. You will look sophisticated, skinny and most of all sexy.”
In 2019, a commercial is going to have to try a little harder then that. Low Carb Land has hit the ground running and the unfortunate who don’t comply will face major risks like the exploding occurrence of Diabetes Type II and the 70 million Americans with Fatty Liver Disease. Sugar does not repress your appetite, in fact its the opposite, fires up the old dopamine system and keeps us coming back for more.
In the 90s in school I was taught the old “Food Pyramid.” With big carb industry like Kraft and Kellogg at the helm, my teacher taught me over 10 servings of carbs is actually good for you! Spoiler alert, it is not. Carb intake ideally should be limited to 60 grams per day.
I know media affects my brain but one of my favorite things to do is plop down and zone out into the magical world of somewhere like Game of Thrones. It has action, love, a story you at times you can barely follow. It showed bloody battles and inappropriate relations that 100% is part of our human history. Which is why the end felt like such a blow, one episode is just a long violent burst of flames and the final episode is just cheesy blah blah blah lets tie everything up so we don’t have loose ends. The old way had more creativity, more surprises. The songs on the show bring me back to 6 years ago, when I first fell in love with my handsome prince of a husband and conquered the great State Board Exam, wrestling with the questions I read in my backwards dyslexic lens. Even though we know it was fake, it seemed to mirror the chaos of life.