Jun 102012
 

Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Open file that contains the chapter of my book I’m working on.

“Oh, I wonder if anybody posted anything interesting?!?” => Check Facebook

Read what i wrote the last time.

“Oh, I wonder if anybody posted anything interesting?!?” => Check Facebook

Write for 5 minutes.

Repeat…

Does this sound familiar?

Scientists love doing experiments with rats. In one they gave a rat a lever and if it pushed it it got some food. The rat would play and run around, until it got hungry and it would push the lever a few times until it had enough to eat. Then it would play and run and sleep and do other rat-stuff again.

Vivi is leaving for Lima tomorrow :-( Won’t be too long until we see each other again, but I’m still going to miss her. Another 3 days and I’ll be back in the Netherlands and I’m sure that seeing all my friends and family will help a lot in making the time go by very fast indeed!
In another experiment the scientists gave a rat a lever, and only provided some food after a random number of pushes by the rat. It would take a few more pushes to get enough food, but the rat could still eat its fill within a fairly short amount. What however happened is that the rat would spend all its time pushing the lever.

The difference is that in the first experiment the rat very quickly learns the lesson: Push the lever, get food. Time to move on.

In the second experiment however the lesson could never be learned entirely, because there was a random component to it. The rat’s brain kept trying to find a pattern, which was impossible as there was none.

I’m the rat and Facebook is the evil scientist, giving a mixture of nonsense, boring stuff and nuggets that truly are interesting. In a very random combination.

And the result is the same. I keep coming back (pushing the lever), sometimes to the exclusion of so many other more worthwhile things.

Now, even though I might not be as cute as your average rat, I am slightly smarter and more self aware.

So I’m going to stop reading status updates (if there is something you think I should know, send me a personal E-mail). And I’m going to limit my own updates to new posts of this blog (who am I to stop others from feeding their own addictions? ;-) ). And I might once and awhile look up people I want to get into contact with (that is truly what Facebook is very handy for). And that’s it!

So if someone sees me with a gaunt face and shaking hands: It’s withdrawal. Just give me a cigaret and I’ll be fine. :-)