Around me, all I see is the blue glow of phones illuminating the faces of people.

These days, we get so many things to discover, information to watch, and we’re getting addicted.

What I fault newspapers for is that day after day they draw our attention to insignificant things whereas only three or four times in our lives do we read a book in which there is something really essential. – Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time

Not sure if it’s the fear of missing out in the economy of knowledge that make our lives sadder:

Alexandra Schwartz (“Improving ourselves to death” New Yorker, January 15, 2018):

Happy New Year, you! Now that the champagne has gone flat and the Christmas tree is off to be mulched, it’s time to turn your thoughts to the months ahead. 2017 was a pustule of a year, politically and personally; the general anxiety around the degradation of American democracy made it hard to get much done. That’s O.K., though, because you’ve made new resolutions for 2018, and the first one is not to make resolutions.

Or if that we are simply betrayed by our own ingrained curiosity:

Francois Chollet (twitter, full thread):

The world is being shaped in large part by two long-time trends: first, our lives are increasingly dematerialized, consisting of consuming and generating information online, both at work and at home. Second, AI is getting ever smarter.

These two trends overlap at the level of the algorithms that shape our digital content consumption. Opaque social media algorithms get to decide, to an ever-increasing extent, which articles we read, who we keep in touch with, whose opinions we read, whose feedback we get. […]

In the case of the human mind, these vulnerabilities never get patched, they are just the way we work. They’re in our DNA. They’re our psychology. On a personal level, we have no practical way to defend ourselves against them.

Few proposes solution. Radical, not sure if they will work. Ironically, they come from the Silicon Valley.

Raymond Weitkamp on his newsletter (

:Death by notification. You can’t unread something. Turn off your notifications – they are designed to be addictive. Default your iMessage banner notification content to ‘hidden’ on your phone. I’m super serious about this. It’s only a matter of time before social media becomes regulated as an addictive product. Maybe we’ll have the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Notifications someday soon.

Banksy, Modern Lovers (Bristol, UK)

And the worse: it seems that we can’t get to sleep anymore. What if the lack of sleep was the simple reason for the general gloom?

Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact.
– Bertrand Russell