Derek Tillotson

I Like It

I've been contemplating various things during this digital declutter (currently finishing day 8 as I write this!). In doing so, I'm starting to look critically at my relationship with various technologies. This post was originally inteded to be an analysis of my ongoing relationship with video games, but as I wrote more, I starting taking a new direction. That's the joy of writing!

A few days ago, I wrote Lessons Learned From Retail. One of the points, however was learned from both retail and veganism. That point--"That's just how it's done"--led me to pondering other common arguments against the vegan moral stance and how they can fit in other areas. Ultimately, my mind kept going back to one of the most common (and weakest) ones: "I like the taste of meat (or cheese, eggs, etc.)." It's not a particularly strong argument against veganism (it's hardly an argument at all, as I'll touch on), but it made me wonder how well "I like it" stands up to other things.

I don't think it does well.

The things we "like", we like because they give us pleasure. That's the basic draw. If something does not give pleasure in any discernable way, we won't claim to like it, full stop. I, for one, can't think of anything I like that gives me zero pleasure--it's hilarious to even think about.

The usual vegan counter to "I like meat (or cheese, eggs, etc.)" is to question whether or not that brief taste pleasure is worth the loss of sentient life. Hearing that point and being unable to think of a reasonable follow-up was one of the first seeds that sent me toward the vegan lifestyle.

When I apply that quesstion to my technological life ("Does 'I like it' justify spending time and moeny on video games (or social media, binge-watching, etc.?")), it makes me reconsider the likes I've had for a long time. Perhaps even my whole life.

The difference in this scenario, of course, is that me playing Animal Crossing doesn't require someone to be slaughtered. However, when I apply this general thinking to various interests, I can dig out more concrete reasoning for liking the things I like:

I don't know how my relationship with tech is going to change come April 8 (the first day after my digital declutter ends). But so far, it's become apparent that the things that matter most to me are the ones that provide something of value on top of just "I like it."

Written April 15, 2020


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