There are two poisons even more potent than heroin, fentanyl, and botulinum.
Sugar and smartphones.

I touched upon sugar in an earlier entry and its intersection with alcoholism. I am not inclined to rehash it here, nor expound upon my half-baked proposition.

Smartphones are tricky, to be honest, because they are focused on the hands and eyes. Hand-eye coördination is vital for primates who found their origins in trees, requiring both organs to work in concert in order to successfully navigate the canopy high above predators. Even after descending to the savannah, hands and eyes were the dyanmic duo of our evolution. Together humans could utilize tools, navigate, and a host of other neat things seemingly out of reach (pun intended) to other animals. With the rise of civilization, hands and eyes were key in creating art, written language, architecture, and a host of other technologies which led to Homo sapiens to leave our planet and send robots beyond the moon's orbit. Anthropocentric pride aside, the cortical homunculus easily demonstrates the importance of hands and eyes for human beings. According to Wikipedia: A cortical homunculus is a distorted representation of the human body, based on a neurological "map" of the areas and proportions of the human brain dedicated to processing motor functions, or sensory functions, for different parts of the body.

this is an image of the cortical homunculus, a deformed human with large or small sensory apparatuses depending on their importance within the cortext of hte brain. the hands are nearly the size of the body of the homunculus and the eyes are markedly prominent on the head of the homunculus

Dem hands doe.

Among the myriad technologies pushing humanity towards the future are smartphones. Nigh-ubiquitous handheld gadgets with computing power to put old home computers to shame. Want to look something up? Google it. Need to figure something out? "There's an app for that!" Best of all, these slender black gadgets with a passing resemblance to the Tycho monolith (TMA-1) from Arthur C. Clarke's 2001 do something far more amazing.

Smartphones connect humans with other humans across the planet. I can message my friend Jeon in Korea via the Telegram app and he'll get back to me. I can text any of my friends in my social support network at any time, as long as my phone has a charge, and they'll hit me back when they find a moment. Let's not mention the basic function of phone calls which can happen over traditional cellular networks with telephone numbers, or through telephony with 'soft' phone connectivity affording one a measure of privacy.

Best of all they fit in the palm of one's hand with a perfect screen for providing entertainment and communication.

Worst of all they take advantage of the relationship between hands and eyes. More insidious they elicit a rush of dopamine, a neurotransmitter used to transmit information, move muscles, and make people feel good. Thing is these short-term, dopamine feedback loops are addictive and are changing the way humans interact with society. If you're ever out with friends in public, pull out your phone at a certain time and pretend to flip through it. Keep an eye on your compatriots because I'll bet dollars to doughnuts they pull out their smartphones much in the same way yawns are contagious. Remember a time when you were bored with nothing to do and just yanked out that infernal gadget to browse a webcomic or play a brief game? Most likely you were bored, got a shot of dopamine, and went about your life until the next fix.

Like caffeine and alcohol, smartphones are socially acceptable since they ensure connectivity. Not because someone chooses to be connected 24/7 to the world at large and their social circles, rather it's always nearby because smartphones are useful (as an alarm clock, for one) and likely addictive.

I wish I could kick this habit. Except without smartphones I'd be even more isolated than I am right now. Worst of all, everyone has smartphones and they're almost necessary when socializing in-person. Whether it's a reprieve of social anxiety from that dopamine fix checking Twitter for 'likes' and 'retweets' or sharing a dank meme with your circle of friends for a cheap laugh.

By maintaining inkubo.org, I affirm my 'old self' persists and hope remains evergreen despite the smartphone fog of dopamine. Thing is I haven't made peace with this addiction , or problematic use, yet. Which brings me to a book I read decades ago when I was dating Malyss. In The World On Blood by Jonathan Nasaw vampires were real, they drank human blood and found baby's blood to be a particularly potent drug. Overall the story was about addiction and a running theme concerned 'The Dream of the Occasional User'. I hope to make peace with my smartphone addiction, become the master rather than the slave, and begin following my bliss rather than being an audience for apps and content creators.

inspiration from the tarot

Before heading to Ocean County I didn't pull a tarot card.

After eating dinner I pulled a tarot card and it was the Knight of Cups.

an upright knight of cups from the mystical medleys deck. the image is a knight astride his horse while crossing a stream. he is holding a cup aloft. two cartoon fish are jumping out of the water underneath the steed.

The Knight of Cups takes advantage of his ability to create and making a dream a reality. Doing something rather than sitting idly by as an audience. Demonstrating one's talents and abilities rather than having them lay fallow.

So I figured pounding something out for inkubo.org would suffice.

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