Look up for a moment.
Have you found yourself in the middle of the woods with only your thoughts and the sounds of nature and thought, ‘wow – this is wonderful’? No mobile devices, laptops, televisions, tablets or billboards – just you and nature. A calm sets in. A calm that perhaps you haven’t felt in some time – but it’s familiar and it’s refreshing. Unfortunately, it’s also temporary. Panic sets in.
Out comes the smartphone, tablet or digital camera to take a picture or check the weather or make sure you didn’t miss a call.
Nature reconnect interrupted. You’re overstimulated mind couldn’t handle the mental peace and quiet.
We have been conditioned to thrive in an environment fraught with constant synaptic input.
This is noise.
Noise has a price tag.
As we get older and more aware of the world around us, we are increasingly drawn to make the most of our time and attention. We have a finite amount of both. Humans do not function at their greatest potential when they are inundated with noise. In fact, the noise starts to take over and shape our lives.
The amount of attention we can give to noise is amazing. Think about the last advertisement you saw. You probably can’t remember – they’re everywhere these days, but yet, you gave it enough attention that you know that there was an advertisement (or two, or three) that you gave your attention to. And for what? Is your life better for the experience?
Noise is looking for a receiver.
Radio waves are all around us. At any given moment, the radio waves emitted by our computers, television towers, mobile phones – they are all flowing through us. Unless you are unfortunate enough to have a rare condition that causes irritation as a result of these signals passing through your body, you never know it. The signals are intended to be read by a receiver that is tuned into the same frequency.
Noise is no different. It’s out there attempting to capture the attention of those who might be interested – those who resonate with the message. When we resonate with noise, thereby accepting it’s transmission and allowing ourselves to react to it, we have tasted it. It has entered into our brain and taken up refuge in our minds. Even the strongest of mind cannot avoid the smallest of effects.
Noise is addictive.
But wait, what about the noise we enjoy?
Social Media? The news? Radio? What if you actually find joy in noise?
We have become their latest victim. As time drags on and we come back to take in more noise, we change. We become reliant on the pleasure the noise gives us and tolerate the pain it inflicts.
We are addicted.
It’s a trap.
Once you’ve tasted the wine, you don’t want to leave the party. You want to keep doing that of which gives you pleasure until it no longer is pleasurable and actually hurts. The thing about addictive things is that the pain that they inflict is almost always temporary and recoverable.
We make the noise.
With tools like social media, blogs and other online advances – we make to the noise. Every status update or photo you post represents noise to the many people who “follow” or “friend” you. It’s brilliant. Social Media has taken the onus of creating content to draw you in made it the responsibility of your friends.
Rehab is available.
I have long been an early adopter of noisy fads under the auspice of technological learning and innovation opportunities. Social Media was a big hit for me originally. I was trapped. The addiction was in full swing. I got joy out of it. For awhile, it was a valuable social tool for me.
But then, Social Media started to lose it’s shimmer – and fast. The pain started to be greater than the sum of pleasure. It all started falling apart when the major Social Media providers (Facebook starting a few years ago and more recently Twitter) made the bold move to start forcing advertising into our streams of noise with no means to opt-out.
Advertising is the lowest form of noise to me. I don’t have a taste for it. To me, it’s sour grapes. I avoid it.
Rather than continue to subject my already taxed noise filters to the constant onslaught of advertising, I deleted my accounts on both sites over the next year. I weaned myself.
Today, when I attempt to read anything, I’m constantly assessing in my mind as to if I should be focusing my attention elsewhere – be it logical or more primal of a reaction.
Choose your noise.
Noise is in our lives in modern times. Some of it is necessary for survival.
Choose your noise carefully. Don’t let it choose you.