Tending to our information ecosystem, if we attempt it at all, requires a striking degree of vigilance and discipline. There is no given balance between place and speed, no natural context of relative meaningfulness to regulate the pace and quality of information for us. It’s on us to do so, daily, often minute by minute. We exist in a state of continuous and conscious attention triage, which can be exhausting, disorienting, and demoralizing.
yesterday I smashed my iPhone - at the time I thought I had just dropped it, which I've done often enough before, without consequence, it has the usual rubber wrapper and screen protector. Later I could see very vividly in my mind's eye, or the remembered snapshot of it, it leaving my hand and heading for the tiled floor, there was a viciousness and deliberateness to it. Afterwards, immediately, I was shocked, alarmed, even grief struck, and starting to desperately consider all the implications of losing the little daemon. But very quickly I started to feel relieved, at the galaxy of things I didn't have to do, cannot do, do not in fact need to do. I can just be here, present, and let reality approach me in glowing colour, and three dimensions, at the speed of a gently ticking clock, or my steady breath and heartbeat.
I don't think this behaviour you're linking to acedia is that — in fact, sloth is its cure!
People do a lot of work and expend a lot of energy processing gluts of digital information. How else do you filter through your feeds and find all these sources, often ones I have never heard of, and then set them out here? What you and many others are doing on Substack and other newsletter platforms, is filter the noise, chaos, and time-sink or life-suck of an internet overtaken with spam, junk, and too many people who bring nothing good to it. Is your experience of curation here "acedetic?" If so, isn't the cure to slow down, to loaf, and slack, like a happy sloth moving at his proper pace, setting the bar slow and pacing the rest of us? ;-)
Not that long ago people used to tell us "Luddites" off with phrases like "if you don't like it, just turn it off" or "change the channel." Nobody says this anymore. They're all hooked, burning up their brains. I don't get it! The jump into smartphones, always-on exobrains, the addiction/"necessity" of social media. You really can "just say no" and loaf with a book, stick with the slower media where all the disembodiment started, and you can even recover the old arts of alphabetic literacy as a shamanic tool, as David Abrams has written, where we can ground distance communication in deep connection, a shared culture and symbols that map to reality in good faith, and our embodied lives — all over the world.
Perhaps C. S. Lewis would make an exception for the "glocalism" of serious electronic correspondence as fundamentally the same as his snailmail relationships, which in many cases led to meetings, friendships, and his own marriage. You know, the reason I was moved to write this comment and catch up with this podcast episode/essay was because a Facebook friend in New Jersey quoted a piece of Lewis's letter because it was quoted in the latest episode of The Great Humbling by Dougald Hine (in Sweden), from whom I acquired this FB friend. And Dougald read you quoting Lewis over here, I think because I had suggested he might enjoy TCS a while back. So now, if you come into great personal hardship and all the pity of your subscribers is for nought, should we lament that we ever leaned upon TCS and Ol' Clive for succour in this overladen infostream?
What Lewis is really saying is that he's a curmudgeon who dislikes big cities and idealizes the lower classes and his ability to help folsk in need. (Which he did generously to a fault.) He was a child of the late Victorian era traumatized by two world wars, including time in the trenches, and that surely figures here — it made him hate the news as propaganda. A big connected world that brings news of war, crime, corruption, a failing empire, and a failing civilization (while also enduring an often troubled home-life, we might say) may have led him toward depression and maybe despair — as it well should if he thinks the problem is *caring* about more people he's helpless to help. No — that was how this mess all got started. (Several Illich quotes come to mind.) Perhaps the vice he needed to confront was pride — the illusion of control at even the small and local level.