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De-stupidification: put the iphone DOWN

Here’s a little taste of my latest for The Remnant on my experience of being (mostly) unplugged for two weeks.

After fifteen years of steady and steadily increasing daily internet use, I can report that I have experienced actual withdrawal symptoms when I finally got fed up – mainly with myself – and cut it off in November. I had become accustomed to texting and chatting with my friends on Facebook and Skype, exchanging articles, information, witticisms and confidences every day, several times a day. Sometimes all day. Though I live by myself, I never felt alone.

Truthfully, I never really was alone. This was the reality of my daily life, especially so starting a few years ago when I stayed in constant contact with my friends who cared for me during cancer treatments. That was the period, when I really did not have the physical wherewithal to pursue most of my other activities, that the ‘net really took over. That was when my books and hiking boots and paints really started gathering dust.

It was this constant state of being plugged in, connected, that started to alarm me. I could no longer deny that there was something disquieting about its effects on me. How ill at ease I felt when I was not gazing at the ‘net, and the evident conflict between the growing spiritual need for silence and solitude, and this overwhelming urge to remain connected. But at the same time, how difficult I was starting to find it to concentrate, to read an entire article or even watch an hour’s worth of a streaming TV show.

Since I cut it off in the last week of November, there have been moments when I have understood how a Star Trek Borg drone felt when severed from the Collective. Without the constant buzzing whisper of those voices, or the mental pressure to return to them if I were away for more than an hour, I was finally really on my own. I found myself often feeling bereft, aimless, with more time on my hands than I remembered what to do with. I even experienced brief periods of actual depression, where I felt strangely unable to emotionally apprehend my sense of life’s meaning, a strange and unsettling blank feeling.


That was part 1 ““iCuriosity” : what is the internet doing to our minds and souls and families?” It is appearing in the print and e-edition of the early December Remnant issue, which you can get here. There is more coming on this subject. A while ago, I started thinking, “How much success would ISIS be having if they weren’t able to post all their little snuff films to Youtube, Facebook and Twitter?” What is the internet doing not just to us, but to our civilization? Part II on how the internet is creating a Great Stupidification will (probably) be in the next non-Christmas edition of The Remnant. It will focus less on personal experience, but more on the facts and figures, the statistics and what they mean for us as Catholics who believe in the Social Reign of Christ the King and the Catholic confessional state.


For no money, you can take a look at my two latest blog posts over there,

On the Delphic Pontificate of Pope Francis: “The Oracle was in fact a young woman, called ‘the Pythia,’ who would sit in her chamber up high on a three-legged bronze seat, perched over what we would now call a geothermic vent from which ‘vapours,’ intoxicating gases, emitted that would send her into a trance. The petitioners’ questions would be read to her and she would babble an incomprehensible response. Then the priests of Apollo standing by would ‘interpret’ her utterances. As an aside, the whole thing reminded me quite sharply of our own current situation in the Church. The documentary’s narrator summed up this pontificate quite well, in fact: ‘The Oracle’s cryptic answers made it possible for her to be right most of the time. If inquirers got the wrong interpretation that was their fault.'”

And why I think that the Francis pontificate will save the Church and how we could not have survived another “conservative”…

“Pope Francis the Great Clarifier” or “You can’t play Catholic in NuChurch”

The bottom line of all this is that the space in the Church once enjoyed by Traditionalists – or even those who have vaguely traditional-looking leanings – is now being closed. As is the little no-man’s land that is called “conservative” in the US. The administration in Rome are making it clear that there is only one way to be a Catholic that will be tolerated.

The Francis Vatican is certainly going out of its way to make it clear what sort of Catholic is welcome to make vows in and devote themselves to the Church. The Great Clarification continues. The weird and confusing stand-off we have had in the Church for fifty years is quickly coming to an end. Thanks be to God for Francis for making it impossible to continue to live in this confusing and contradictory, compromised state of conservative denial. You can’t play Catholic in NuChurch.

(btw: sorry about the comments in the last couple of days. For once the problem was not me being lazy, but me being incompetent. I somehow got locked out of the Disqus moderation page, and it has taken until now to get back in. I’m really just a regular schmoe when it comes to this stuff.)


4 thoughts on “De-stupidification: put the iphone DOWN”

  1. bosco49 says:

    By the way, notwithstanding the Woody Allen film clip which I believe characterizes our profound attachment to the internet, I believe, if the lives of social media devotees were put to music, if updated would sound like this 1973 Simon and Garfunkel ballad:

  2. bosco49 says:

    I agree with your take on how the internet (specifically ‘social media’) is addictive and how it deprives us of the opportunity for prayer, reflection, and genuine society. To me it is akin to the Tower of Babel.

    In any event, this addiction to our devices has often reminded me of a scene referred to as ‘The Orb’ from the Woody Allen film “Sleeper” (1973). It speaks for itself, I think:

  3. Hilary White says:

    It’s not prayers that breaks addiction or bad habits. It’s the exercise of the will. Cancel your home internet. For people like us, we can’t go incrementally. If it’s in the house, it will eat your life. If you have an iPhone, take a hammer to it.

  4. Chloe says:

    Thanks Hilary something my son said the othe day and now this. I need to unplug. Can you recommend any good prayers to end the addiction? I realised, reading this, I was once a prolific reader. Now I can’t concentrate enough to to finish a book. I need help!

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