Treating the Internet like a Higher Power...
I don't currently have a satisfactory way of framing the concept of a Higher Power in my life. (And, yes, I have read countless suggestions about ways other people have made this concept work for them...) That being said, I realized recently that some of my obsessive web searching is not that different from desperate prayers tossed out into the Universe. Something within me has tremendous faith that there is information on the Internet that will save me from my anxiety, guilt, procrastination, etc. Emotionally, I am drawn to this search for the Holy Grail of transformative self knowledge. But is that a reasonable thing to believe? Is this searching a reasonable way to spend my time?
Between using the Internet addictively to "take the edge off my anxiety" (hmm, sounds like the reasoning I used to use about having a glass of wine) to using the Internet as if it were some sort of Higher Power, I am losing countless hours per day. This is not acceptable. But what would "Internet sobriety" even look like?! I don't want a life in which I feel like I can't Google things that spark my curiousity. I gave up alcohol completely because I couldn't drink in moderation. I do NOT want to have to give up non-work-related Internet usage altogether just because I am weak willed and afraid and using the Internet in an inappropriate way any time I'm anxious... Right now I'm so far behind at work that it feels like I don't have any time that I can designate as personal time during which playing on the Internet would be acceptable. And even if I did have healthy work/life boundaries, do I want to lose my personal time to mucking around on the Internet?
It seems intrinsically unfair that giving up alcohol wasn't enough. Apparently I have to give up all the other tools at my disposal for escaping the mess I've made of my life. I hate this trapped feeling. Now would sure be an exceedingly convenient time for my Higher Power to introduce itself to me. My worldview is so rigid right now that I don't know if I could even "hear" such an introduction. Then again, I apparently had some sort of unreasonable faith in the Internet as a source of salvation. Perhaps some healthier form of faith will start growing within me if I stop trying to find all the answers and solve everything on my own? Let us hope.
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i come to you today suffering from my own addictive behavior. It was on this forum that i came to believe that i have an "addictive personality" and procrastination / internet / tv is simply my drug of choice. Other things--other escapes--can also serve as that drug at times.
I have also read that addiction is escape oriented. We escape into the drug of choice to avoid things that are painful or uncomfortable. That certainly describes me, and it's why i'm ( back ) here today.
As for higher power, i have been able to convince myself that non-physical things exist. For example, Math. ( I happen to love math ). 1 apple + 1 apple = 2 apples. But if you take away the apples, 1 + 1 = 2. So math appears to be non-material, non-physical but still very, very true.
Another key question in my life has been : are their moral truths that everyone should follow--even if they dont believe in them? For example, is child abuse wrong, even if the abusing adult does not agree? Most people would say, yes, there are certain truths that are true whether or not people believe them. We may disagree on which truths belong to that category, but just the idea that there are some truths like this is persuasive to me to believe that there is a transcendent moral truth out there.
I guess the other really persuasive thing in my life was the 1st 3 chapters of Mere Christianity by C.S.Lewis. They are very logical, but also very personal, and they had a huge effect on me.
In the end, i would describe my faith as a Hope. I dont think there'e conclusive proof one way or the other. I would say i "Hope" there is a God, and that he loves me. I Hope that if i seek him he will guide me to find him. I Hope he will grow a desire in me to be Good, and teach me what Good is. And i Hope that when this is all over, we will all go to a better place, even paradise, where we, too, are the perfected versions of ourselves. And i Hope that he will give the wisdom and strength to contain this addictive personality.
fall down seven times, get up eight - japanese proverb
Clement, thanks for the encouragement and suggestions. I read C. S. Lewis a long time ago, but haven't looked at any of his work recently. I will check out Mere Christianity and have a look at the chapters you suggested (after I get past my current work deadline).
I agree with you that non-physical things exist (such as mathematical concepts). I don't believe there are moral truths that exist independently and that transcend the moral code of any given society. But even if I did believe in transcendent moral Truth, I don't know how to get from that belief to a belief in a Higher Power that: (a) exists, (b) has power to make changes in the physical world, and (c) actually cares about me.
I love your moving description of faith as Hope. That approach doesn't resonate with me personally; however, it is clearly a powerful source of healing in your life. I wish you all the best during your journey.
Oh yes, Piqued. It must be there somewhere on the internet, elusive though it may be. Meanwhile it makes slaves of us all, no amount of time or dedication seems to be enough- and yet we know it is just round the corner, just one google away as we click on to the 847th listing for the day. I have many addictions, or perhaps that is just an easier concept than admitting to an essentially addictive character that manifests in many different areas. I have had to instal blocking software on my computer so that I can't get access to the Internet for chunks of the day. I have had to remove all games that came with my computer and farm the reboot discs with a friend who lives some distance away. I am always looking for one more piece of information/area of research that will spark ideas or solidify an argument, be it in books or on the Internet. My puzzle addiction is paper based as well as the Internet. I buy books compulsively and software. I banned television from my house five years ago, and now feel myself drawn into online program's, undoing my abstinence. I can't eat chocolate in moderation.
What seems odd to me is that the terrier-like pursuit of answers is really driven behaviour whereas procrastination is its opposite, or is it a frantic displacement activity for real life.?
Mole, I had to laugh as I read your description of our terrier-like pursuit of answers. I tried the blocking software approach also; however, it kept software that I need to use as part of my job from working.
This driven search for answers often takes place when I really need to be doing work. But the search is so easy to justify with thoughts like "maybe this website will finally be the one that helps me change as a person, which will enable me to get my work done on time at long last..." I need to take a break in the search for answers and somehow force myself to do my work tasks with the abilities/flaws that I currently possess. I guess that is what sobriety actually looks like for me. I wish that prospect didn't seem so daunting. I wish I weren't such a coward. Sigh.
Time to take off the armour, put down my favorite weapons, and walk into the arena. I'll only have to do battle with work tasks, not lions. My level of fearfulness is ludicrous.