Why are you reading this?
You clicked a link, resulting in some network requests, software churning, and the pattern of lights on your screen changing.
Though that proximal cause is fascinating, why did you click? Perhaps because you clicked something else first, and something else before that. But it’s not quite “clicks the whole way down.”
You are reading this because there is enough of your mind that wants you to. It wants that for a mix of reasons - affiliation (i.e. you know me or are in my “network”), curiousity, avoidance of other tasks, and more. These are the “latent causes” behind clicks that advertisers and others love trying to get at.
But they aren’t just sources of manipulation and dark patterns. In a very real way, by clicking around, skimming, and “doomscrolling” we are being true to ourselves, or at least an important part of ourselves.
We select our distractions.