The generation I am currently living off is a weird one. The one that someone eating without a youtube video playing on the screen can be seen as insane. Consequently me and lots of people of my generation got used to consuming a lot of content, like a lot a lot. When quantity becomes important factor, quality usually starts to suffer and as a wivid consumer of large quantities of content I can assure you that it’s very hard to find a quality content those times. On top of that seeing lots of low effort and shorter content types made us lazy, resulting in less interest and motivation for the quality.
What we are seeking is rather feeling of accomplishment and a small does of dopamine when we start consuming. And those low effort contents does provide that with no issue, and in a sense they do explicitly exploit our such desires. Take a look at from the perspective of a vivid YouTube Shorts, TikTok or whatever platform you enjoy killing your time off consumer. You start watching a video, 10 to 15 seconds and it’s done, you’ll get a small dose of accomplishment feeling / or dopamine as a reward for finishing off something - a short video that didn’t added that much to what you already had. The provided reward is not that much though, but that’s the great thing for those platforms, the reward you got is not big enough to make you satisfied to stop consuming them, but small enough to encourage you to get more. And voila, You just got hooked in a ricidious circle!
The worst part of all is over time you’ll get used to it, you’ll start valuing instant gratification over the long term gratifications. You’ll lose feeling of a real accomplishment, heck you’ll get to enjoy less and less of a quality content, film, book or something valuable because it takes time to feel their reward meanwhile there’s an alternative that can provide the same thing over the small quantities in a short time. Why would you bother investing time onto something else?
Technicially speaking it all starts from our brain. If you’ve read Deniel Kaneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow” you probably know that our brain has two separate thinking mechanism, one responsible for our survival that provides fast responses and the latter is for more complex situations that responds much slower but is more rational than the other. The way those platforms tend to exploit our desires involves that fact and they do that by encouraging us to use our fast thinking part of the brain a lot more. They do this by giving us lesser and less time to make decisions, they throw content at you that your brain doesn’t get enough time to make rational decisions so it ends up relying on instrictive decisions that tends to favor any sort of reward without thinking about long term complications.
Okay enough rant so far. I didn’t started this article to dig deeper into our brain or physiology but somehow I did write that all above and I don’t regret it if it taught you something.
The real reason I started writing this was to say a “Thank You!” to one of the underrated creators I recently started binge watching: Grant Sanderson or also know as 3Blue1Brown. You have probably seen a video or two of him on your feed and might or might not have checked on them. If you happen to not know about him or his creations let me say this: he’s a man that made older generation jealous of the next generation of students because of how valuable and engaging his content are.
Heck you can watch his videos while having a breakfast or dinner and still get engaged while learning a thing or two, and getting more curious about the science. And believe me if you are a type of curious person you’ll really like it no matter how complex the subject is.
And more importantly you’ll feel a great amount of feeling of accomplishment from time to time when you came across “Aha!” moments, and man it does feel great. That’s the same feeling that led me to start writing this because it wasn’t enough to just comment a “thank you” under the video, I had to do something more to express how I felt.
Another fun fact about human behavior. The enjoyment you’ll feel after an accomplisment increases as the toughness of the journey you took for achieving it. What that means is, the more you stuggle for something the more you’ll enjoy when you get it. That’s why it’s more satisfying to buy something for the first time after years of living off a small budget. That’s why the longer you’ll be in a relationship the more you’ll eventually start to enjoy it because you would have had more troubles along the way. This mechanism motivates us to invest into future, like studying something for years, or learning an instrument for a long time to have a greater satisfaction in future. Without that motivation I doubt if we as a civilization would’ve come to the state we are in today.
So far so good, if you want to have some engaging time with math I drop a few links below for you to start your rabbit hole journey:
- But how does bitcoin actually work? - Even though I am skeptical about the cryptocurrencies, understanding of the tech behind is a valuable lesson to learn. We wouldn’t had all those great inventions if it weren’t for all the research people have done to have advantage during the wars, so even an “evil” technology can be used for good purposes if someone finds a way to do. (Yet I haven’t seen a good use of cryptos).
- Essence of calculus (playlist) - It was one of the “scary” parts of the math for me, man, the visual explanations on those videos are priceless!
- Some light quantum mechanics - It’s like an intro to the much denser topic. Provides some important quirks and basics that would help you along the way if you get more curious about the quantum mechanics. Alongside with it I would recommend reading sir Stephen Hawking’s “A brief history of time”.
- What is the Fourier Transform - Who would’ve believed that a tech we use to compress our images could’ve been used to stop the nuclear race (check out this video from Derek Muller).
- Quartenions - Good luck becoming a 3d game engineer
Thanks for reading my rant and appreciation post. This was kind of unusual one from my other writings but this is my own side of the internet and I want to use it as a sole place to express my thoughs. That does’t mean I’ll stop writing about more technicial stuff in future. Definitely not as long as I’m alive, but from time and time I am planning to write different kinds of posts as well.
I hope reading this did provided some value to you!