In 2032, a camera will point at an exit door in a small clinic, waiting for a patient to come out. The camera will be held by a friend of this self appointed news anchor on TikTok. He will stream it live to his followers who will be watching from all over the place. Some will be in bed. Some will on the toilet seat. Some will be in class ignoring the teacher in the distance.
The notable thing about this moment is that millions will watch, but it will be mostly ignored. Behind the clinic's door would be the first patient to receive a prescription from a renowned doctor in the field of mental health. When the patient exits through the door, the anchor will ask him, "What does it feel like to be the first to receive this prescription?" All over the world, distracted teens will listen eagerly for the answer. Though they might not stick to the end. Some will swipe the video and move on to the next.
The patient will answer, "I don't know... weird I guess?"
But then the anchor will continue talking to his invisible audience, never mentioning the patient again. Turning it into a soliloquy as he walks away.
The patient will walk to the next building where he will present his prescription to a lady behind the counter. She will hand him a box to place his phone, watch, glasses, and any electronic device. Then, he will receive a small cup of water and a red pill to swallow immediately. She will then escort him to a furnished room with a window overlooking a lake. For the next few weeks, he would have to come back to this room, put away all his electronic devices, and spend some time alone.
The purpose of this exercise is not to have time alone, but to have time to think. Every day, we get less and less time to ourselves for thinking.
Standing in line means putting on headphones and watching a video. Driving means listening to a podcast. Running means listening to music or another podcast. Going to the bathroom means catching up on twitter. Boredom means watching endless streams on TikTok. There is not a single second left to think.
Eventually, the world will feel this crisis. And doctors will prescribe a note that will give us the luxury of spending a moment alone. This will be the only time we will have left to think.