September 16, 2020
You ever get a phone notification and stare at it a while? I'll admit I do. When I'm feeling even more lonely and isolated than usual, a notification icon is like a drug.
It makes me feel needed and wanted. It tells me that someone, somewhere, needs my input on something. It tells me something can't make any more progress without me. It makes me feel important. It adds validation to my brief existence.
I stare at that notification icon, even though I know it's unhealthy. I know it's reinforcing the idea that I need others' attention for validation. I know that idea is poisonous and plays into tech's goal of stealing our attention.
But I keep staring, taking in the pleasure, and knowing the long-term costs. I feel that warm comfort that will, slowly but surely, burn part of me to cinders. I take the drug again and again.