We Are What We Eat (by Alice Waters)and Digital Minimalism (by Cal Newport) are two books uncannily similar in their messages.
We are what we eat in terms of food…and we are what we consume on social media.
Both books seemed to feed off on each other as I read them, a chapter or two in one book and then a chapter or two in the other book. One focused on the culture of food and how it transcends to our society. The other focused on the culture of digital lives that foster addiction through intermittent positive reinforcement and drive for social approval. When we strive for convenience and uniformity, we also homogenize society and forget to treat people as individuals who have different traits and needs. The availability of foods, the ability to be anywhere and buy anything, dulls what is right in front of us locally and seasonally. A bit like echo chambers on the internet? There is also trust in branding and advertising that changes our relationship with truth. Kind of like distorted memes on social media? Even if it seems that more in portion and speedier food is better, obesity, trash, and food waste become problematic. There is a false sense of success as we still struggle with contentment having enough food and “likes.” There is also a dehumanizing sense of impatience and loneliness when both food and “likes” are not dished up in the ways we hope. Thinking about stewardship and sustainability for nature, food systems, and humanity, along with using digital media for aspiration rather than being manipulated by it, can reclaim our attention, conversation, and contentment to and with ourselves and other humans.