Monday, October 28, 2002

“If your right eye causes you to sin, if necessary gouge it out and throw it away.”
— Jesus Christ (0–33 A.D.)

Okay, I’m at work, and I can’t stare straight at my monitor any more. So, this is a good opportunity to write the journal entry that I e-mailed a few close friends about yesterday. Which strikes me as temporally complex, but then, I like that sort of thing.

(This is from a man who, when e-mailing reminders to himself, signs them as “Brent of the Past”. When I receieve them, they’re always from me in the past. But I always have a bit of logical difficulty actually typing, in the present, “Brent of the Past.”)

…Ahh, good, I’ve already tripped gaily down a weird tangent when introducing an important blog entry. Blog Cliche #1…check.

Seriously. I’ve been struggling for awhile with a tendency to look at naughty pictures on the internet (no, I won’t provide hyperlinks, though it would sure make my access logs entertaining). For a while, I pretended it was no big deal, and then when I realized it was a big deal, tried to stop.

I couldn’t.

Now, to understand the impact of this, know that I am a disciple of the Science Fiction Heroism school of self-improvement. Mankind can grow great, if only it tries! So, I tried. I saw myself as a stoic Paul Atreides or Spock or John Sheridan or Louis Wu or what-have-you. I thought of myself as at least trying to be that hero. I could do anything if I just tried hard.

I couldn’t.

In other words, I was addicted to porn. It was a plain fact. I couldn’t go more than a few days without spiralling down into the same old behavior.

So, I went to a counsellor. That’s been going very well, and I’ve been learning a lot about myself, but there’s been one bone of contention. My counsellor’s pointed out that, realistically, there’s only one way to beat an addiction: Abstinence. Serious abstinence.

I resisted this for a long time, until finally on Saturday when I spiralled back down into that well of inexplicable behavior, and I finally decided that that was enough, that I was ready to get rid of this, and I was going to take the plunge.

Starting last night, I began a planned two-week vacation from the internet. I still have access at work, and I’ll use that on off-hours if I need to for some specific purpose (frex, I need to buy some cheap plane tickets). But for the next two weeks, I won’t even switch on my home computer.

Two weeks from now, I’ll start using my computer again (under supervision, no less!), but only for e-mails. And then, after awhile, maybe I’ll be able to start surfing the web.

If this sounds extreme to you, you’re right. It is extreme. But it’s my duty as a man and as a Christian to solve this. It’s not right for me to be in bondage to this. I’m systematically engaged in a destructive behavior which I can’t stop. If I have to be drastic to deal with it, then fine.

(And yes, pornography is destructive, in lots of ways. I won’t go into it here, but suffice to say that I use that term intentionally.)

And, really, is my behavior all that drastic? I’m just giving up e-mail and the web for two weeks. Am I that dependent on modern technology that I can’t survive without it? I should hope not. I’m actually looking forward to it, as I’ll have a little extra time to devote to other pursuits, like reading, writing, and catching up on my anime collection.

Of course, this opens up a much larger question: What would my life be like if I permanently abandoned the computer? I feel no need to do so, but it’s an interesting thought experiment.

What would your life be like?

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