Brains are lazy AF.
I've reconciled myself to it.
The merest hint of a pattern, and our minds shift gears, slip into autopilot. If something feels familiar we ignore it, and don't even realise. After all, why not? Thinking costs energy and energy is expensive.
So you travel a familiar route, and only start paying notice at the destination.
Or sit there, slack-jawed in front of Netflix, realising at the end of a scene that somehow you missed some vital plot bullshit. When you think about it, it's terrifying. The familiar patterns that wash over us. We see and don't see.
It's a trait that's both good and terrible.
It's good because it means that the mundanity of life can just... happen. We don't need to invest every ounce of our being into brushing our teeth.
It's bad, because everything that was once magic eventually becomes routine. Think back on those electric moments when you were a teenager, or first explored the world, moved to the big city. Your mind was hyped on novelty. That near-miss mugging under the bridge. The moment she brushed your arm, tantalisingly close to a kiss.
Unguarded, we're left with pale imitations: apps that trick our dopamine, TikTok serving up a slick five seconds, or psychedelics themselves. People take these because, among many other things, they slow the brain's processes, let it pay attention to details it would otherwise gloss over.
This is new, they tell the brain. It might seem like you've seen it a miiillllion times before... but this one is subtly different. It's worth - savouring. Seeing it for real.
It's ironic that the architects of our smartphone hellscape famously micro-dose, given how invested they are in making behaviours thoughtless and instinctive. Seamlessness is good for commerce, trash for the soul.
We need visceral reminders that the world is real, not virtual.
The firm grip of another person to confirm their physical reality.
Kids demanding something now, here in the real world.
A real fight, not a Twitter beef.
Efficiency is great for the economy. It's clean, focused.
Unsurprising: the culture wants us to strive.
You have to remind yourself to live.