Dopaminferno Book Launch

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Last week we launched our book, ‘Escaping the Dopaminferno – A Digital Declutter and Dopamine Detox‘ here in Cambridge, UK. It’s a new experience for us!

As it happened, the place we booked was closing down the next day. So the building was stripped bare. It looked like the scene of a David Lynch film when we got there.

All that was left was an empty room, a light bulb and a few old beer barrels outside.

Somewhat thankfully, the invitees were all friends – mainly because we didn’t have the time to engage with any tech investors, youtubing boxers, or instagram foodie influencers.

But the horror scene was compounded when I looked around the room: the combined twitter reach of the people in the room barely amounted to 500 followers!

Was it even worth doing a launch if no-one is going to share it online? (Share this quote on social media!)

Still, it made for a good story in the end.

Rolling in the barrels

We rolled in the barrels, loaded up the laptop with some retro synthwave and cracked open some beers. It wasn’t long before people were chatting away and we were showcasing the book.

We picked up some chalk and, instead of doing a book reading, started adding some quotes and sketches on the wall.

There was certainly quite a grunge / punk atmosphere, perhaps fitting with the attitude contained within the book.

Guerilla Stickers

One highlight was the stickers. They can either be stuck onto your laptop to advertise during boardroom meetings, or somewhere public like your nearest gents toilets.

The stickers disappeared quickly. A nice outcome from a combination of team work, lighthearted creativity and some artificial intelligence.

Dreams, intentions, lessons

Matt thanked all for coming and did a quick straw poll of how addicted we were to our phones. Almost everyone recognised that they used their phones too much, with a few admitting they were addicted.

I related a few of my experiences.

In many ways, it was quite a feat for us to be here at all. We were naturally worried that maybe no-one would turn up, or that people might think that what we’ve written is crap and we’ll get laughed at online, and it would’ve been easier to have done nothing.

It’s one thing to create a piece of work when you have a company brand on it, quite another to create something which only has your name on it. Then talk about it.

In such a situation we came to realise that having a community around us helped us for the support and challenge we needed.

There was also another element.

When Matt and I began the dopamine detox we were both going through some significant stages of our lives. In order to face up to this, we undertook a full month of dopamine & technology detoxing (which we recommend and recount in the Dopaminferno). But there was something else I wanted to share.

During the month of detox I had a dream …

I dreamt of a large expanse of water, like a giant endless lake. Upon this lake there were huge iron structures, like iron bridges in all sorts of directions. Matt and I were walking along one of these walkways. We then realised that behind us we were being followed by a man dressed darkly. He was after us. Ahead of us the walkway ended with water below. We started running away from the man.

What did he represent? The workplace? The system? The shadow self? – chasing us and reminding us of our obligations and addictions?

As we ran away, we came to the end of the elevated iron walkway, we had no other option but to jump into the water below.

Was it the fear of jumping into the unknown?

I was reminded of the following extract from ‘The Last Barrier’:

He told me that, paradoxically, on the path of knowledge those who doubt the most often become the best gnostics. To trust and to doubt at the same time – to abandon oneself to the unknown and at the same time to question each moment so that the motive is always clear – how could this be possible? … I realised that what I was experiencing was the fear of the unknown rather than the usual fear of rejection … The fear of the unknown is something that everyone will fear sooner or later”

Reshad Field

As Matt and I stood there launching our book, we were facing the unknown – we don’t know what’s going to happen next.

And just like in that dream, at a certain point, there is no turning back! The event launch was that moment. We had to jump into the unknown.

The launch event is a ritual of sorts. Afterwards we sat by the fire, watching the eternal flames churning the elements and sending a thin layer of smoke towards the starry autumnal sky.