tech makes your life harder

Many people think that the technology makes their life much easier and much better. Partially, it's true: you can instantly send a message to your interlocutor wherever he is, you can find a huge amount of useful information on the Internet that is too hard or impossible to find in your city library, computing helps a lot in science. But because technology has entered our lives quite firmly, people have started abusing it a lot even where it is not needed. People become addicted to technology and its useless pieces just because they're pieces of technology, even if they are making people's lives worse and harder. Not only are people destroying themselves by using social media instead of live interaction or just doing something useful (like cleaning a room, heh), but people in the rush of digitalization have come up with the idea of complicating their lives by replacing simple things, almost perfect by design, with their digital alternatives. A simple example of this complication would be a paper notebook.

In a paper notebook, you can do almost everything: write, draw, and correct the mistakes if you use a pencil instead of a pen. You can purchase a notebook with numbered pages and make a table of contents, or number the pages yourself to make it easier to search for needed notes. You can split your notebook into different parts for different things or get multiple notebooks for them. But it wasn't enough for tech lovers, or they couldn't organize their notes in a paper notebook, so they reinvented it and made a ton of notetaking and to-do apps for computers and mobile devices.

Now, let's imagine a digital notetaking app user. To read and/or write his notes, a notetaking app user will take his phone out of his pocket or his laptop out of his backpack, turn it on and enter the password, open the notetaking app, and start doing his things. In this case, the notetaking app user performs more actions than a paper notebook user who just opens his notebook to start doing something. The notetaking app user thinks that his notetaking app is more convenient than the paper notebook because it has a neat user interface and is a small app in a small smartphone that can be hidden in a pocket. This joy is not always felt for a long time, the user interface gets boring, and the functionality becomes insufficient to write his outlines with scientific stuff. N.t.-app user starts to spend hours of his time choosing another n.t.-app. Then he installs some kind of conditional Obsidian and uses it for everything just as slow as before, and doesn't see any problem with it.

After reading this sad story, the reader can understand exactly how the unfortunate slave of technology made his life more difficult for himself and didn't even realize how. But this story may not seem like a perfect example because of a small snag, and the reader may have a question: "Isn't typing a huge text in a notetaking app faster and more convenient than writing it with a pencil?". Indeed, the keyboard typing speed is much faster than handwriting, especially if the user is proficient in the touch typing method. It may be the only case when the notetaking apps are better than the paper notebooks. But in my opinion, the notetaking apps should be used to take notes, not big articles where the typing speed can play a big role. For this kind of thing much better to use something like R Markdown, Typst, or LaTeX, because the documents made with these tools are beautiful even without layout modifications, they aren't too hard to learn, and they are much better suited for writing for many reasons. I think that's more important than the beauty of an Electron user interface. By the way, if you name your documents correctly and write a table of contents for each one of them, you'll not likely need a fuzzy search to search for information in all your notes.

Similar examples of uselessness or/and harmfulness of digital alternatives to something physical can be applied to almost everything: smartwatches, smart locks, habit trackers, neural networks (not all), etc.

I might also add that if something of useless digital alternatives to physical things is collecting your personal data, it can harm your anonymity+privacy+security (next -- nanonymity, term from Shadow Wiki) by transferring your data to someone somewhere unbeknownst to you and serve contextual advertising that can be pushing you to endlessly consume useless content.

I think there's no reason to tell you about social media harm in detail. It's pretty clear that social media are not only wasting your time. Social media can also be a serious threat to your life if you're posting something personal about yourself and your life (your name, phone number, email, where you were on holiday). It's especially dangerous at the height of doxxing and swatting when the kids and little undeveloped adults who do not realize the awfulness of revenge and feeling impunity can ruin your life because they were somehow offended by you or just for fun. Also, if you are physically in a not-very-free place, you can be prosecuted for some careless post somewhere.

All these factors: using social media, switching to useless tech, and irresponsible attitude toward nanonymity not only destroy your life, but they are also slowly bringing a Huxley's "Brave new world" closer. Unfortunately, you probably can't somehow single-handedly influence the development or degradation of our world and our society, but you can make at least your life better by taking some maybe uneasy steps.

1. Smartphone rejection

The most radical and probably the most efficient move to improve your life is to reject your smartphone or buy yourself a second dumb phone without social media, games, misc apps, and so on. Smartphone rejection is not for everyone, and it's normal. Personally, I don't see an opportunity to switch to a button phone or something like a Light Phone, but I'm going to install Divest OS on my old Xiaomi Redmi 4X and try to use it as my main phone for everything for a week or maybe a month, and maybe I'll write about my experience with it. Again, smartphone rejection is not for everyone, and you can skip this step for the first time, but you must at least reduce your screen time. You can read an article about life without a smartphone by Offline Magazine:

2. Useless tech rejection

I think you understood the main idea of it and I shouldn't repeat it. I'd like to add that if you really want to actually switch to more primitive things, you should take a sober look at what tech you use and make a decision on what you 100% need and what you can change to something less harmful based on nothing but facts. For example, a smartwatch doesn't offer something really useful, and you can switch to a mechanical watch or minimalist digital watch like the Casio F-91W if you don't like/understand the arrow watch. Don't forget that this article isn't about absolute harm from technology, this article is about that it is better to use it wisely so as not to harm yourself.

3. Social media rejection

Again, I won't repeat about social media. But social media can play a big role in your life, for example, if you use it for work or for promoting your own creations. In such cases, you don't necessarily have to reject social media, just use it only for work/promotion/etc. or hire a manager if you have enough money.

4. Do something

If you don't have any interests, you really should change something in your life. If you have an interest in something, improve yourself in it. Try something new, go outside more often, and find yourself a hobby. Some ideas you can get from r/digitalminimalism wiki page: (sorry for the reddit link, most of libreddit/teddit instances are often down and the {t,libr}eddit link I'll leave you with may not work. Use libredirect or search for working instances here(libreddit) or here(teddit)).

The most important and the most valuable advice here

Stop reading or watching videos about life improvement if you think you already have some useful ideas. Just start doing something to improve your life, nobody will do it better than you.

If you want to supplement this article or correct something, please write me on XMPP at the address at the bottom of the /index.html page.