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Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Internet Wastes Our Time: Part 4

Ah, Internet.  I love thee.  I hate thee.  You're here when I need you, and you're here when I really don't need you at all.

The internet wastes your time, folks.  The internet isn't even a tangible thing.  It is, at most, light photons coming from your screens that tell you information about the world.  Do you truly need to know that information so much of the time?

Fr. Sertillanges would argue no.  He would instruct you "to withdraw from all else," to "open up one's being to truth," and "take a ticket for a different world."  If you're going to do intellectual work, then that is what your time is to be used for.  We are to secure, preserve, and guard our time, putting it on a stable basis.
Whatever decision you have made, the chosen moments must be carefully secured, and you must take all personal precautions so as to use them to the fullest. You must see to it beforehand that nothing happens to crowd up, waste, shorten, or interfere with this precious time. You want it to be a time of plentitude; then shut remote preparation out of it; make all the necessary arrangements beforehand; know what you want to do and how you want to do it; gather your materials, your notes, your books; avoid having to interrupt your work for trifles.

Do not interrupt your work for trifles.  For the online news.  For the latest silver price.  For the latest Facebook feed.  Do not even open up the forum you belong to, that you may check and see how people have responded to your latest musing.  Save those trifles for a designated time.  You must work.  
Further, in order to keep this time for your work and to keep it really free, rise punctually and promptly; breakfast lightly; avoid futile conversations, useless calls, limit your correspondence to what is strictly necessary; gag the newspapers! These rules, which we have given as a general safeguard for the life of study, apply most of all to its intense hours.
Gag those newspapers.  Turn down the volume.  Stop checking into the DrudgeReport or the Huffington Post every thirty minutes.  Do your e-mail correspondences later.  Do not become sidetracked.  
If you have so foreseen and settled everything, you can get straight at your work; you will be able to plunge deep into it, to get absorbed and to make progress; your attention will not be distracted, your effort scattered.  Avoid half-work more than anything.  Do not imitate those people who sit long at their desks but let their minds wander.  It is better to shorten the time and use it intensely, to increase its value, which is all that counts.  
Do not let your mind wander.  Do not let your time on the computer wander, either.  Stop falling for the click bait.  The information this world has to offer you is limitless--you must stop yourself at some point.  You must control what you feed your mind.  You cannot internalize every bit of trivia from the Internet.  The Internet wastes time.  
Normal workers estimate at from two to six hours the time that can be steadily used with fruitful results.  The principal question does not lie in the number of hours; but in their use and in the mind.
Sometimes, you only have an hour and a half.  Perhaps you've got a handful of kids.  Perhaps you can only squeeze in your intellectual work during brief moments in between physically demanding tasks.  Such is life.  Do your best.  A human being is meant to be spent wisely, not coddled, preserved, and hidden away.  Your life is short, so use those precious moments wisely. 
Many people are the dupe of appearances, of vague and muddle-headed intentions, talk all the time and never work.  
Stop putting on airs.  Put up or shut up.  You can't be marketing yourself all of the time if you have no product to offer.  What do you have to offer?  Stop telling people about how wonderful you're going to be, and just get down to it.  

The Internet wastes your time.  

*Excerpts from Father Sertillanges' book, The Intellectual Life.


  1. I'm sorry, but I have to disagree.

    As someone who must deal daily with two forms of Autism, I need the internet to keep connected with friends and loved ones far away. And also to keep my mind off the problems connected with this accursed Autism. Otherwise, that disconnection would drive me 100% over-the-moon insane.

    1. Howdy, Roy!

      No, I'm not saying that the Internet is bad. Not at all. But it can be a distraction when it comes to other chores.

      The Internet's a fine thing! It's a part of our life in this house. But, when it comes to intellectual work, and whatnot, it can be distracting!