MBTI, Random Ramblings

The Internet Drags me into an Extraverted Intuition (Ne) ‘Brain-Massagey’ Bender…

I’m not going to assume all Ne (Extraverted Intuition) users struggle with the intense pull of tumbling down into the endless chasm of possibilities that is the Internet, on a daily basis.  Maybe you’re a healthier Ne user who socialises in the real world and gains inspiration and thinky-brain-massages that way instead.  Consider this paragraph the disclaimer: it could entirely just be me who’s Ne gets them stuck in a net browsing mindstorm of click, click, click…engaging with a constant stream of ideas, lives-lived (and living) and generally mind expanding content.

{ If you haven’t a clue what I’m referring to when I say Ne, I’m a bit of an MBTI and Cognitive Functions junkie and Ne is an abbreviation for Extraverted Intuition.  Ne users are the ENTP, ENFP, INTP and INFP (that’s me!) }

For a description of Extraverted Intuition, check this out.

I feel like I have a very quiet (I rarely make a peep outside of my own head) form of ADHD.  I know I’m not alone in what feels to me to be an Internet addiction.  I go through withdrawals if and when I spend too much time away from my laptop and I get incredibly bored and irritable without constantly feeding that ‘need’ for stimulation.

I made the decision a few years ago to disengage from my phone or any kind of device I can take out of the house with me easily (or just sit on the loo or in the bath with really).  I guess this has been yet another way of me ‘managing’ my addictions.  I successfully did the same for food by bit by bit improving the quality of my food.  I still binge out on dark chocolate sometimes but for the most part I binge out on whichever fruit I’m really into at the moment (it’s Valencia Oranges at the moment….omg guys, how awesome is it that in Australia there’s a summer variety of oranges!?!  I can’t tell you how in love with these oranges I am right now…eeeee!!!).

For many people I’m sure they wouldn’t see this as a victory.  I never really solved the underlying problem.  I just replaced my 3 times a day trips through McDonalds drive through with varying degrees of healthier foods until 15 years later instead its 3 times a day bingeing out on a few squares of choccy or a couple of pieces of fruit.  After 15 years of incrementally improving my food choices, I still have that trigger that sends me to the fridge when I’m feeling emotionally volatile (or just bored really).  I just grab 3 juicy oranges instead of 3 crumbly mince pies when the ‘need’ hits but I still haven’t managed to get rid of that deep ‘need’ to ‘feed’ some vulnerability inside myself.

I do wonder though, maybe this is just part of the human experience?  Are we all just prone to some kind of comfort behaviour and mine like many people, is food related?

Back to my Internet addiction.  Short of forcing this addiction into the confines of my ‘spot’ where my laptop lives (because I’m a creature of habit, even if the spot I’m sitting hurts my back, smells funny and is 80% gloomier than the rest of the house, still I insist on sitting in this spot I arbitrarily picked the first week I moved in somewhere) I haven’t made any other real strides in curing this one.  I took a month off my computer for an entire month last August.  It was rough.  It was important to me that I proved to myself I could do it and I did.

Nothing revolutionary happened after that month disconnected from the Internet.  I didn’t take up running or yoga; I didn’t begin on that novel; I didn’t implement an effective routine for cleaning the house; I didn’t even leave the house more often.  Mostly I just got in more reading time and took a whole lot of long baths (I don’t do things in halves guys, when I say looong I mean some of these baths went for 2+ hours).  If you watched any of my older Youtube videos you may have spotted the view from our German apartment’s bathroom.  The view was spectacular.  Why even go outside when you’re able to throw the window wide open, take in the sights, sounds and smells of the forest AND be wrapped in a warm epsom salts bath from the safety of your en suite bathroom at the same time?

I’ve gotten sidetracked again haven’t I?  Sorry, this is just how I tell stories and whilst a part of me wishes I was more concise and easier for people to understand…the larger part of me loves the journey.  It feels good guys, Extraverted Intuition explorations of your own creation are a brain-massage like no other.

The problem is that the Internet provides so many of other people’s Ne explorations.  It also provides us with so many shared life experiences.  In previous generations even your most charismatic traveller could only collect so many stories.  Youtube provides us with an endless stream of individual life experiences, endless thoughts and ideas to explore, the practical and the abstract all in one place.

The problem is that I can’t focus.

At any given time I’ll have 3 or 4 web browser windows open.  My main window right now has 34 tabs open.  These are not just sloppily left open tabs (though that happens too!), they are 34 legit open trains of thought I’m exploring.  11 tabs are Youtube videos I’m part way through.  Before I go to bed each night I try to ‘force’ myself to finish off 2 or 3 of them just so they’re off my plate when I get up in the morning.  Of course usually those 2 or 3 videos lead to other videos from the same creator or along the same train of thought, leaving me potentially with more tabs open the next morning.

Youtube viewing has become a challenging task for me.  Remember back in the day when there were only a handful of big Youtubers and if one of your favourites put up a video you treasured it and watched it all the way to the end?  For me that ship has sailed.  I struggle to stay ‘on task’ long enough to finish a path I’m on in a timely fashion.  I always finish the task eventually but these explorations have gotten exhausting.

The fundamental issue for me is that this kind of Ne use isn’t as fulfilling or as brain-massagey as using my Ne in the real world.  It’s fun and it’s satisfying but I don’t experience it in quite the same way.

Creating my own content has been really helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of Youtube and Content Creators.  I have a greater understanding not only of the technical side of it but it has also removed some of the glamour.  I’ve seen behind the curtain and it’s actually pretty great back here.

The question is, will I ever break this Internet addiction?  In honesty unless I find a suitable substitute I don’t think it’s possible for me to erase it from my life (or do it in healthier quantities).  A part of me feels that if I can engage on a personal level more with these mediums of communication I use then this will make it a healthier part of my life?  Or am I just deluding myself?  If I weren’t so damn awkward and shy maybe I could live stream or join a conversation in that way.  For now, it’s not something I’m capable of.

If you managed to get through all that waffle, thank you 😉  How do you feel about your relationship with the Internet and technology?  Do people even think of technology and the online world as an addiction anymore, or are these just a new norm for the modern human being (like story-telling around the campfire used to be)?

Do you struggle with any kinds of addictions that maybe other people wouldn’t consider a problem but you feel you do it to excess?  For example, when cleaning and tidying your home goes from just good housekeeping to a compulsion.


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