What are you scrolling for?

What do you think will be different now, 120 seconds after you last checked your feed? Will there be a new comment of effusive praise? A new like? Maybe a new follower, who may or may not be a real person?

I see you scrolling over there, like you're doing God's work. I do it too. We all do it. But does that make it okay?

When your phone isn't immediately available, you get nervous. If it's not sitting within direct eyesight you get worried.

The vibrations hold us accountable and the uncertainty is addicting. Will this be the hit that fulfills the original promise? Will it deliver that sweet, sweet high you've have been chasing for so long? Will this new notification make you feel loved?

Sure, sometimes you really do just need to check the time. But more often than not that's just an excuse, and not a very good one. It's an excuse for your brain to justify unlocking the screen, one more time, to see if there's any more love to extract. Any excuse will suffice; our brains even create false positives, phantom vibrations that never actually happened. Sometimes you feel these phantom vibrations even when the phone isn't in your pocket, sitting on a desk with its screen facing upward, displaying a beacon to the world when you are needed by someone else in another time and another place.

Just let me check one more time, you say. Just once more. This will be the last time I check, until the next time, and I don't know when the next one will come so I need to check now. This is the behavior of a person with a problem. This is the behavior of a person enslaved. This is the behavior of an addict, and the substance we are addicted to is love. Deep down we all know this. And yet we don't stop. Phones don't cause cancer, at least not like cigarettes do. And so we continue.

Unlike drugs, you cannot develop a tolerance to the love you extract from life. You can only develop a tolerance to how that love is delivered. Screens are a poor delivery mechanism for love, and so the potency is diminished with each new arrival.

The question you might be asking right now is, "So, how do we increase the potency of love we get from our screens?" This is not the right question. A better question is, "How do we find new ways of recieving love?" And an even better one is, "How do we find new ways of sharing our love with the world?"

There isn't an immediate or a correct answer to either question, at least not one that is all-inclusive. It's putting a bandage over a bullet wound: something to stop the bleeding at best, to provide peace of mind at worst.

Stop relying on the screen, stop relying on the people who aren't with you. Still recognize the power that the screen provides and take advantage of it, but don't let it take advantage of you.

Stop scrolling and start looking, listening, learning, living.