Part 5 of the Digital Sovereignty Series
It is no secret that there has been a heavy push by technocratic organisations to “digitise” the world. It is an approach that assumes we know exactly what makes up this world and that it can all be converted into digital form. Even assuming the intentions of such acts are good (which we know they are not), it still strikes me as an incredibly narrow-minded, mechanistic and overly left-brain approach to life. How are we supposed to digitise the beauty of being in nature, or listening to music being performed live in a room, or holding the hand of a loved one? No virtual reality can ever capture that. Yet, we are pushed to believe the digital realm is an appropriate substitute for experience when, in reality, it is just one tool that can be used, and abused.
As I stated in Part 1 of this series, an important part of digital sovereignty, in my opinion, is the ability to choose when not to use technology. However, as highlighted by Dustin Broadberry across his articles and equally great conversation with Jerm Warfare, it is not an exaggeration to say that some of the brain-rewiring digital technology we are exposed to has its roots in CIA and NSA experiments. As such, this piece will specifically look at ways in which we can evaluate and address the balance of our digital existence in relation to our overall existence.
Resisting Technological Addiction
Many aspects of the design of social media purposefully capture the attention of those using it. We see this in Facebook’s “like” button, the algorithmic nature of social media feeds, the use of bright colours to catch people’s attention, and so forth. Alarmingly, there’s lot of evidence to suggest that these mechanisms were deliberately intended to have such potential, with some elements even having roots in CIA and NSA surveillance and manipulation of the public.
This extends beyond social media though and many apps can utilise features of an operating system to manipulate our attention. While some of these techniques, like gamification, can be used as motivational tools when done right, they can all too easily be abused to unethically hook people to their devices. Here are a few useful tools I have found helpful in breaking screen addictions or in limiting the manipulative effects of technology:
Deleting or putting restrictions on social media accounts that are drawing too much of your attention. This doesn’t just apply to the Big Tech platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok, for which there are far more reasons other than drawing your attention to ditch, but even the social media platforms aligned morally and technologically with individual sovereignty.
Turning off notifications and putting devices on greyscale, leading us to be less distracted by the bright colours used on websites and notifications to draw attention
Using browser extensions like Unhook that hide suggested content, comments and more when browsing YouTube.
Incorporating deliberate mindfulness practises to become aware of when technology is beginning to use you, rather than you using technology.
Have set time windows in which you allow yourself to use technology, then outside of that have devices switched off or disconnected from the internet.
Limit the number of sources of digital information; do I *really* need to follow as many Telegram groups as I am?
We have plenty of “analogue” tools that can eliminate the need for us to use digital technologies. Physical books instead of digital information sources, in-person meet-ups instead of conversing online, using cameras to take photos instead of phones, all the way to the no-smartphone lifestyle we described in Part 4 of this series; these are just a few examples of reducing dependency on digital technology.
Resisting Adverse Health Impacts
Even if an addiction to technology isn’t a problem, many of the devices and applications we use can still have marked physiological effects on our bodies. Perhaps the most well-known example of this is in the blue light exposure from the LEDs used in screens on many of our devices. Blue light is known to be able to disrupt our sleep patterns, which has a resulting impact on melatonin, detox capacity and more. Thankfully, there are a few ways to counter this, either with “red shift” software, which reduces the amount of blue light a screen displays, or in blue-blocking glasses, which work better than software according to Rain Trozzi of Over To The Youth.
That said, there is ample benefit to taking regular breaks from screens for those who do use them for long periods of the day, not least as a means of disrupting poor posture. Our bodies are designed to move around and not be stationary for long periods of time. Using timers, specialised apps or concentration techniques like Pomodoro might be useful to help factor in regular breaks or, in my case, I like my herbal teas, so this tends to be a pretty good motivator for me to take regular breaks from screens. Furthermore, incorporating something like a Nitric Oxide Dump workout or some Shinrin-yoku can also be great ways of breaking up screen time while promoting good health.
Resisting A Surveillence State
Of course, our sovereignty isn’t just impacted by the devices we own; it is also impacted by those owned by others enforced on us. It is a sad reflection of British society – a culture which historically has championed individual liberty – now sees the restriction of access to places in the name of “climate change”, widespread CCTV in its cities, facial recognition by both public and private enterprises, laws to scan private messages and so much more. What can individuals do in the face of such imposing challenges?
I think the most powerful solution by far to businesses imposing such measures is to simply refuse to engage with the technology they are pushing. Don’t sign up to “Clubcard” or loyalty card schemes. Don’t use a self-checkout with facial recognition. For those who like a bit of mischief, get a bunch of friends to do a massive food shop at a big supermarket that has self-checkout tills and all queue up for the human-operated tills instead (and of course, don’t pay by card). Even better than that, withdraw from such organisations altogether and let them collapse. Why would I want to buy arguably poor-quality food, which may be GMO, chemical-pumped or chemically coated through Bill Gates-funded schemes from a chain supermarket, when I could get a delivery of fresh organic produce from a local supplier at only a slightly higher price, that is far better for my health and for the environment? This doesn’t have to be limited to food. Banking is a slightly more difficult but more powerful area to focus on, which may include avoiding internet banking and digital currencies. Other areas we can benefit from “just saying no” to may include local “services” from Agenda 2030-subservient councils in the UK (or equivalent boards elsewhere in the world), digital entertainment and so forth.
All this can be made easier by building and participating in local communities that do not depend on technology to survive. This might start off by using digital platforms to bring together people to form a community, as many of us have done through Telegram or tools like Freedom Cells and directories of Community Assemblies (like this one for the UK). However, it doesn’t have to remain that way as time goes on; having communications and actions done offline and in-person is not only going to be resistant to censorship, but likely more rewarding on a spiritual and emotional level.
If nothing else, I hope this piece has been a welcome, but informative, respite from some of the more tech-heavy topics of previous installments. For further exploration of some of the topics touched upon today, I can highly recommend the following resources:
mindful.technology – a phenomenal multi-author blog exploring different approaches to preventing us from being used by the technology we interact with.
“How To Opt Out Of The Technocratic State” by Derrick Broze – A book detailing a myriad of ways that people can resist the implementation of a technocratic global government.
“Digital Wellbeing? What Is That All About?” – a presentation given by Mathilde Barbier to the Control Group, available for all to view publicly. It gives useful background and tools in digital wellbeing, and how to be in-control of the technology we use. She also offers online courses designed to help individuals re-address the role of technologies in their lives.