101 ways social isolation can be good for you

#1: Recover the pleasure of sinking into a long novel. 

learn to out-focus a goldfish 

Recover an attention span longer than that of a goldfish – your average digitally connected human has the lesser attention span – the way evolution intended. Be less a victim of the myriad modern distractions that grab our minds and then scatter them across what currently pass for our realities. 

compose the script of your own existence

Reclaiming your attention span means also reclaiming a surer sense of who you are. Spin yourself back into a distinctive story that is your own. See how that personal narrative can find a meaningful home within a collective narrative that re-establishes human values and ends within a world where we have increasingly outsourced the shaping of who we are, whether individually or collectively. Recover the sense of sacred quest that gives us meaning. 

Many if not most of us live in a world where the values that shape who we are and what we want from this life are more and more a product of algorithmic engineering, a world where we see the inputs and the outputs of the process, while what happens in between remains opaque to us. AI has become a black box whose machinations lie beyond the ken of any of us. 

read a good novel

Read a long novel, while the pandemic has blessed you with enough time on your hands and, maybe, fewer other distractions. Extended reading exercises the faculties that allow you to pay attention longer than a goldfish and better serve as you own scriptwriter. 

read MOM, for example, and Genesis 2.0

These books offer an added advantage: they’ll help you prepare yourself for a pandemic far more terrifying that COVID-19 will ever be.