Abstaining from the internet is good in moderation. But I’ll be honest, I need material to think critically about. Social media and news sites allow me to gorge on the inane and disgusting cultural artifacts of our society. The biggest hurdle for gaining insight and understanding is overcoming self-deception. I acknowledge that I am enmeshed within society and enculturated with the same ideologies as my peers. Thinking that I am somehow exempt from their influence is grave self-deceit. Being a critical thinker requires dissent. It requires challenging the norms, the status quo, the conventions, the same old. No one critically thinks unless they engage in dissent, unless they disagree. Our mind– our world view– is a product of our culture and the ideologies embedded within it. If I am to transcend myself and grow in understanding I need to critically engage with this culture, challenge it, and know it like my enemy.
What’s most important is how you spend your time. If you look at how I spend my time, indulging in cultural fabrications like television and social media and consumer activities pale in comparison to the time I spend reading books and researching veins of thought and writing and journaling and reflecting. I do enjoy the aesthetic elements of communities like Tumblr, however, and appreciate the links to articles and other interesting exposures on social media like Twitter. But as they say, if you want to achieve something you must allot your time so that you spend 20% of your time thinking about the problem and 80% thinking about the solution. Not vice versa, else we become too inundated with the problem and never gain ground towards the solution. If you examine how I apportion my time, this lines up fairly accurately.
Would abstaining from the internet be better for the mind? Maybe all this depends on how you define “better for the mind”.