MODERN MUTING

Your Inbox is Your Mind and It’s Under Assault

Julio Vincent Gambuto

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Each Monday, Julio Vincent Gambuto presents “Modern Muting” — a weekly Medium story series dedicated to helping readers step back from all the bullshit of modern life, create quiet, re-evaluate, then go forward boldly. It’s 500 words a week of “self-help meets the system.”

Thursday was a solemn and almost holy day. While it’s certainly not a religious holiday, as a national one Thanksgiving carries heavy spiritual weight. Our world moves at a million miles a second, so fast that it’s hard to take a breath to be thankful for all we have. Thursday was a day of reflection, of gratitude for all we have and all we have been given — if, of course, you and I could carve out a moment to do that between the kids running around, the sweet potatoes burning, and the relatives opining.

Friday through Monday? The invasion of utter nonsense. Inboxes all over the country are stuffed like that Thanksgiving turkey, with click-appeals from the Big Brands and endless messaging to not “miss out.” CNN is reporting on the best deals, as if 20% at Best Buy were breaking news. The pressure is on — online and off — to click, click, click, buy, buy, buy. Gone is the gratitude and the moment of pause. Now, consume more crap you don’t need. The American economy depends on you. If you don’t, you won’t be cool, your friends will look down on you, and your kids won’t love you. If you want your kids to love you, click here.

This holiday season, let’s remember that Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday are fictional. Like the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Do not feel bad for a single second that you can’t click, spend, give or buy. Inflation is obscene. Credit card debt just hit a record high. And two-thirds of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. I’ts okay if the answer is “no” this year — maybe even “f*** no.” That doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you less engaged, active, or alive. Instead, it allows you to protect yourself against a system designed to take, take, take.

(Of course, Giving Tuesday is meant to be the non-profit version of Cyber Monday. If you didn’t spend all the cash you have on a new television, give a buck or two to the American Cancer Society. Nothing wrong with it, but it’s equally annoying to the…

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Julio Vincent Gambuto

Author + Moviemaker // Happiness in a fucked-up modern world // New book from Avid Reader Press (Simon & Schuster) // Audie Finalist // SXSW // juliovincent.com