Alice Gregory: Refresh to See
When we self-diagnose, we look for control factors. Sometimes we invent them. The goal of solipsistic anxiety is to find an individual agent that explains our misery. We eliminate possibilities one-by-one in hopes that a single cause remains. This is how people deduce food allergies and come to workable morning routines (no to coffee, yes to tea; don’t transfer trains, walk the extra eight blocks instead). It’s frustrating when changes in lifestyle are not singular but rather come in waves, making it harder to identify and explain away the sole source of pain. We prefer that our personal problems not be overdetermined.
In the past year, I graduated from college, got a desk job, and bought an iPhone: the three vertices of the Bermuda Triangle into which my ability to think in the ways that matter most to me has disappeared. My mental landscape is now so altered that its very appearance must be different than it was at this time last year. I imagine my brain as a newly wretched terrain, littered with gaping chasms (What’s my social security number, again?), expansive lacunae (For the thousandth time, the difference between “synecdoche” and “metonymy,” please?), and recently formed fissures (How the fuck do you spell “Gyllenhaal?”). This is your brain on technology.