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I've mentioned a few times how I no longer have TV now that the analog broadcast went digital. It was basically a finance thing, I don't have the money for a new digi TV, and being a technophile, I'm not gona waste money on a converter box (esp when my CRT is old and fuzzy picture anyway), so I decided to not have TV when the signal was cut. I never watched much of it anyway, but it was usually always kept on for the dog, or just as background noise (I have tinnitus). I'm a Netflix member, and I get episodic TV DVDs 2x a week in the mail, and this serves my late night just home from work watching habits perfectly.

 

But this week specifically I have noticed how much of a difference this has made in my life. Everyone was talking the other day about something to do with Kanye West and the MTV music awards, and I had no clue what they were talking about. Several times people have expressed relief that a hurricane wasn't going to come ashore, and I'm no longer hearing the talking heads every morning telling me how nothing has really changed since Obama was elected. I used to not want to be ignorant of the world; I thought that I had to know what was going on to be prepared, or aware, or something. I used to to think that "dropping out" would be a huge mistake; that I needed to be up to speed on what was happening. Now I see the truth in "ignorance is bliss". I get what news I need either from here or the global on-line edition of the NYT.

 

My anxiety has almost disappeared, and it surprises me. I think it was PaulQ who said a few weeks ago that suggested the modern lifestyle can be a trigger for some peoples anxiety, and it made me ponder this for awhile. In the last 5 years I have radically changed my diet from a Standard American Diet to a natural, pre-industrial whole food vegetarian diet, sold my car and drive a scooter and/or bicycle everywhere, switched my main computing platform from Windows to Mac, eliminated every bill save for rent, food, internet, and cell phone, and donated all my clothes and have only what I need to get me through 2 weeks without doing laundry. It's been a long, subtle road here, but this week I realized how much better my anxiety has been.

 

Many people are shocked when the hear how I live, they all assume it is so much harder for me without a car, or TV, or that I'm always hungry. It is not though. The reality is that I feel better than I ever have in my adult life. There are times when it would be easier to have a car, but for the most part, riding a bike has been so much better and less stressful for me, and even though my paycheck is spent before I get it like most other people, it's not on insurance, gas, cable bills, or all the other stuff that tends to make me feel bogged down by the world.

 

I guess there is not really a point for this post, other than my realization that TV was probably the biggest anxiety maker in my life. It truly is the idiot box, but ONLY because of the mass media that is broadcast. Individual shows can be great entertainment or education, it is all the crap, news, commercial, etc, that really got to me. I just wanted to say how I managed to (unknowingly) find some relief from anxiety by cutting back on the modern "conveniences". When I was cutting these things out of my life, relieving my anxiety wasn't my goal, but it was a very happy and welcome outcome!

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Welcome to the real world. We ditched the TV in 1988, haven't looked back since. The only time I seriously think about hooking the hypodermic syringe cable up again is during the Olympics - there's just not enough streaming going on.

 

We not only have our DVD player, we also have a dedicated PC connected to the TV with one of these boxes. We use it to watch shows on Hulu and TvShack. Some very cool shows (like Warehouse 13 and House) are made available online almost as soon as they are broadcast.

 

I, too, noticed my stress levels dropping significantly as soon as we stopped watching the idiot box. The crap they fill the airwaves with is designed to grab your attention at any cost. Everybody panic! Disaster is looming! Lock the doors! Hide the kids!

 

I'm much happier now that I don't know what I'm missing.

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I've mentioned a few times how I no longer have TV now that the analog broadcast went digital. It was basically a finance thing, I don't have the money for a new digi TV, and being a technophile, I'm not gona waste money on a converter box (esp when my CRT is old and fuzzy picture anyway), so I decided to not have TV when the signal was cut. I never watched much of it anyway, but it was usually always kept on for the dog, or just as background noise (I have tinnitus). I'm a Netflix member, and I get episodic TV DVDs 2x a week in the mail, and this serves my late night just home from work watching habits perfectly.

 

But this week specifically I have noticed how much of a difference this has made in my life. Everyone was talking the other day about something to do with Kanye West and the MTV music awards, and I had no clue what they were talking about. Several times people have expressed relief that a hurricane wasn't going to come ashore, and I'm no longer hearing the talking heads every morning telling me how nothing has really changed since Obama was elected. I used to not want to be ignorant of the world; I thought that I had to know what was going on to be prepared, or aware, or something. I used to to think that "dropping out" would be a huge mistake; that I needed to be up to speed on what was happening. Now I see the truth in "ignorance is bliss". I get what news I need either from here or the global on-line edition of the NYT.

 

I find that everything controversial comes up sooner or later on my computer. I read CNN, watch some video, and look at the local paper online (I'm a cheapskate) for weather. If I had time, I'd look at the comedy channel online, but I don't really want to spend that much time - even though I like it.

 

For in depth research, I go to YouTube. Well, just kidding sort of, but the videos everyone is screaming about wind up there some time or another.

 

Mostly, I like reading the comments on the controversial stories. That's something you can't do with TV.

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  • Super Moderator

Although I haven't ditched tv altogether, I have stopped watching the news and anything else I know will set me off (right-wing talk shows, for example). I love House, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Southpark, and anything that makes me laugh, as well as some of the food, travel, and decorating shows. I am much happier and relaxed. I figure the important news will be on the net. Then I have the option of reading it or not. Things that aren't within my control aren't in my face all the time. On the other hand, my fundie DH, LOVES Fox News, WorldNutNews, true crime shows, etc. That's all he watches/reads (well, the buybull and apologetics too of course). He is constantly 'feeling bad' in one way or another--physically, mentally, emotionally. I have to believe there is a connection.

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I barely watch any TV. When I do watch it, it's Discovery, Space, or Comedy channels. Even then, the show I watch most is Mythbusters.

 

I don't stay informed about the world at all. In a way that's probably bad, but the fact is; I don't have the bloody energy to care about the rest of the world. My problems are big enough in my own little part of the world around me. I expend all of my energy on that and don't need everyone else snatching a piece of me and eating me alive.

 

So I can totally relate to the OP in a big way there.

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I only started watching cable news about a year ago, then stopped after four months. It took that long to figure out that it was 99% bullshit. Also I had this media studies class which thoroughly convinced me that television is the root of all evil. So I won't be going back to that. I can definitely relate. The farther removed I am from all of it, the happier I am.

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It truly is the idiot box, but ONLY because of the mass media that is broadcast. Individual shows can be great entertainment or education, it is all the crap, news, commercial, etc, that really got to me.

 

Yeah, Marty. That's why I gave my TV to my parents. I especially hate commercials...unless they are hilarious. After that comes the news for the braindead.

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Just avoid the news. For some reason I don't really enjoy watching tv shows on my computer.

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Most of what I watch is documentaries and adult swim at night. I could not ditch tv because I thrive on documentaries (the constant urge to learn).

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I watch TV all the time. I find the internet equally or more distressing. :shrug: But I'm not the type looking to enter the "echo chamber." That doesn't comfort me at all. I know that some people enjoy visiting the same blogs (read "news sites") over and over again simply to reinforce their personal views. I guess if that works for you then go for it. Others do this by turning to Fox News Channel. I see no difference beyond ease of access.

 

mwc

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I don't watch or read the news. If it's not in the news headlines on my yahoo homepage, or on the front page of the paper, I probably don't know about it - well, or used to not know. At my current job my boss blasts Fox News or CNNBC all day long, and constantly feels the need to discuss what's going on. It drives her nuts when someone is clueless about government stuff - I guess it gives her something to do, but it gets old, because frankly, I don't care that much. Unless it's something that I can actually DO something about, I honestly see no need to get worked up over it. Yes, I've got my opinions on some things, and there are times I am interested if I see it as worth my time and effort. I do try to understand enough to have well informed opinions as well, but constantly being bombarded with news - no thanks. Most of it is the same crap, different day anyways, and it's meant to cause you stress (ie get people fired up, worried, scared, etc).

 

I still watch a lot of TV, but it's generally movies or shows I enjoy - Comedy Central and SyFy are the primary channels seen in our house, occasionally I'll watch the Style network. We'd have to be actively in a war for us to have the news on for any length of time, unless there's something specific I want to see, but that's happened I think 2-3 times in the past 6 years.

 

Email and cell phones are my biggest stresses - I feel lost without them, but love being away from them as well!

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My anxiety has almost disappeared, and it surprises me. I think it was PaulQ who said a few weeks ago that suggested the modern lifestyle can be a trigger for some peoples anxiety, and it made me ponder this for awhile.

 

I'm convinced that the modern lifestyle triggers anxiety in people who aren't even necessarily prone to anxiety, and is likely the root cause of depression in many cases. It's always nice to read about someone who has switched to a simpler lifestyle, and found themselves to be happier and more relaxed because it verifies this theory.

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I'm convinced that the modern lifestyle triggers anxiety in people who aren't even necessarily prone to anxiety, and is likely the root cause of depression in many cases. It's always nice to read about someone who has switched to a simpler lifestyle, and found themselves to be happier and more relaxed because it verifies this theory.

Well, rather than saying it like this wouldn't it be more effective to simply tell people to find the thing(s) that cause them anxiety and eliminate them if possible?

 

mwc

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I'm convinced that the modern lifestyle triggers anxiety in people who aren't even necessarily prone to anxiety, and is likely the root cause of depression in many cases. It's always nice to read about someone who has switched to a simpler lifestyle, and found themselves to be happier and more relaxed because it verifies this theory.

Well, rather than saying it like this wouldn't it be more effective to simply tell people to find the thing(s) that cause them anxiety and eliminate them if possible?

 

mwc

 

Problem is, the so-called modern lifestyle exhibits many triggers of anxiety. I see it all around me all the time; most notably, with my in-laws, who have become so competitive and cut-throat, they can't stand to talk to me nor my wife because we exhibit satisfaction with our lifestyle, and to them satisfaction equals wealth. One brother-in-law feels compelled to remind us that we're not doctors; to which we agree wholeheartedly, so now he refuses speak to us.

 

Living a simpler lifestyle includes being happy with who you are and what you do. Unfortunately, it can be lonely being happy and contented with one's life.

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Problem is, the so-called modern lifestyle exhibits many triggers of anxiety. I see it all around me all the time; most notably, with my in-laws, who have become so competitive and cut-throat, they can't stand to talk to me nor my wife because we exhibit satisfaction with our lifestyle, and to them satisfaction equals wealth. One brother-in-law feels compelled to remind us that we're not doctors; to which we agree wholeheartedly, so now he refuses speak to us.

 

Living a simpler lifestyle includes being happy with who you are and what you do. Unfortunately, it can be lonely being happy and contented with one's life.

 

 

An interesting perspective. While my "yuppie" friends out here on the west coast seem to be somewhat satisfied with their lives, I don't quite understand their constant "stress levels". Stress over what ? A lot of them seem to want to perpetuate the stress, or keep pressuring themselves with one thing after another. "Let's get deeper into debt and buy a boat" seems to happen just as they are achieving solvency. And what's with the jealously trip among relatives these days ? Some of my relatives and extended in-laws are barely talking to each other these days. Oh, someone's son just got their university degree.....someone else is crushed now.....and these kids involved in soccer, martial arts, this, that and the other when ordinary school stuff is enough to consume their lives. Some of these kids are involved in so much stuff that they're already embittered and prime candidates for alcoholism and drug abuse.

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I'm convinced that the modern lifestyle triggers anxiety in people who aren't even necessarily prone to anxiety, and is likely the root cause of depression in many cases. It's always nice to read about someone who has switched to a simpler lifestyle, and found themselves to be happier and more relaxed because it verifies this theory.

Well, rather than saying it like this wouldn't it be more effective to simply tell people to find the thing(s) that cause them anxiety and eliminate them if possible?

 

mwc

 

Thing is, I would have never guessed that a car and TV were the biggest stressors in my life. I quit these things for other, political and/or financial reasons, and it wasn't until last week that I realized how much better I felt. What I'm surprised at, is I've found the most relief from ditching the things that most people consider the most useful/entertaining modern inventions; the TV and car. Diet affecting mood is a no brainer, but ease of transportation is not one that would be so obvious, at least to me...

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An interesting perspective. While my "yuppie" friends out here on the west coast seem to be somewhat satisfied with their lives, I don't quite understand their constant "stress levels". Stress over what ? A lot of them seem to want to perpetuate the stress, or keep pressuring themselves with one thing after another. "Let's get deeper into debt and buy a boat" seems to happen just as they are achieving solvency.

 

The message we get from advertisers these days is that you can impress people by the material possessions you own. So, for example, by driving the BMW and owning the boat, people will wish they were you. It goes without saying that this can make them feel like a celebrity without actually being one. The problem is, it's a myth. People don't look at other people with nice things like boats and think, "Gee, I wish I were them." Instead, they tend to think, "I need to get a better boat to show them I'm better than they are," because they assume that person got their boat to prove that they think they're better than everyone, which is usually true. It becomes very competitive, with conflicting messages from advertisers. People then become frustrated and angry if they're not treated like the celebrity they think they are, and even further infuriated when those they believe should be worshiping them did actually go out and get a better boat. I saw this first hand when my brother-in-law went out and bought a 46" plasma TV. I waited for the prices to drop on the 46" LCD's, and when they did, I bought a superior flat screen TV. Prior to this, all he was talking about was how great it was to have a 46" widescreen TV; but when I got mine, he didn't want to talk about it anymore. He expected me to ooh and aah, but instead grew angry when he saw that mine was better and cheaper.

 

On the other hand, it does not bother me that the TV's this year are even better (though not cheaper); I had been watching a 24" tube TV up until last year, so to me it's a nicer way to enjoy my movie collection. I generally don't talk about it unless someone is interested in buying one, or when I need to make a contrast.

 

And what's with the jealously trip among relatives these days ? Some of my relatives and extended in-laws are barely talking to each other these days. Oh, someone's son just got their university degree.....someone else is crushed now.....and these kids involved in soccer, martial arts, this, that and the other when ordinary school stuff is enough to consume their lives. Some of these kids are involved in so much stuff that they're already embittered and prime candidates for alcoholism and drug abuse.

 

It's terrible, and I see a lot of families and neighbourhoods torn apart because of it. Consider this scenario: My sister-in-law had a good paying job, but it was temporary and she was laid off. She had no skills, so she went back to school to study to become a dental hygienist. My wife and I were very happy that she was going to have a career and build her own life. Suddenly, out of the blue, she announced that she was dropping out of the program and was heading down to the states to marry some doctor she met on-line. When she asked my wife what she thought, my wife replied, "Well, if that's what you really want in life, then I wish you all the best." No sign of jealousy or resentment from my wife who was very sincere. My in-laws worship doctors like they're some kind of god, and so become very angry when they realize that my wife and I hold the same regard for doctors as we do janitors. It's not that we feel that doctors are unimportant; rather, that it doesn't matter what you do in life, as long as you're contributing something that suits you. Janitors perform a job that, if done right, can keep us from seeing the doctor. Both janitors and doctors do a job that contributes to our health. Now my sister-in-law refuses to talk to my wife, because my wife doesn't worship her and her doctor husband. It's the same kind of anger you see when you tell some Christians you don't believe in a god. Tell them that a doctor is human just like the rest of us, and it's blasphemy.

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Problem is, the so-called modern lifestyle exhibits many triggers of anxiety.

...

Living a simpler lifestyle includes being happy with who you are and what you do. Unfortunately, it can be lonely being happy and contented with one's life.

All I do is see you confusing these two concepts while ignoring your own summation (I highlighted it).

 

Being "happy with who you are and what you do" seems to be your premise but you wish to then universally apply it to the "modern lifestyle." What of those people who, via the "modern lifestyle" achieve just that? It seems you don't allow for this possibility or set the bar so high that it is nearly impossible (ie. if someone professes this to be true while living the "modern lifestyle" they may very well be lying or haven't truly discovered the "truth").

 

No matter. So how far back do I have to set the clock to rid myself of the "modern life?" It seems a 50+ year old appliance (the television) is considered "modern." How about the radio? The phonograph? Anything with electricity? Should I simply go back to the 1800's? This would place me back on to my great-grandmother's farm roughly (she did have a light bulb she didn't care much for but my great-uncle was insistent so it was there on the porch since such things couldn't come inside the house).

 

I suppose I'm just not seeing the problem. Perhaps it's the loose definition of "modern lifestyle?" I don't know. Maybe it's because this seems to be what people have been saying for ages and it's nothing new? After all "city life" was the cause of all problems since the creation of cities. Now it's just "modern life."

 

mwc

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Thing is, I would have never guessed that a car and TV were the biggest stressors in my life. I quit these things for other, political and/or financial reasons, and it wasn't until last week that I realized how much better I felt. What I'm surprised at, is I've found the most relief from ditching the things that most people consider the most useful/entertaining modern inventions; the TV and car. Diet affecting mood is a no brainer, but ease of transportation is not one that would be so obvious, at least to me...

But how does this make it any less true? I said to find what causes you anxiety and remove that from your life if possible. That means you would be responsible for doing a proper evaluation of things in your life. You seem to want to say that because others find it useful that you wouldn't need to personally evaluate these items in relation to your life and your levels of anxiety. I'm saying that's your responsibility.

 

Just like some people are allergic to peanuts. Some are not. If you think you are allergic to peanuts would you be best served by going to your neighbor and asking them if they are allergic to peanuts or would being tested for the allergy be a better idea? Perhaps all your neighbors have no peanut allergy? So then you must not be allergic, right? Of course not. So what if you are allergic? Certainly all your neighbors would be happier if they removed peanuts from their diets, right? That's silly too. If you have a problem with peanuts then you should do without. Your neighbors should evaluate for themselves how best to deal with peanuts.

 

And that's what I'm saying about this "lifestyle" issue. You didn't evaluate all those things that may have caused you issues. That doesn't make those things intrinsically "bad" but they just not be something that are "right" for you or you may need to learn to deal with them in a different way. Same for me. Same for everyone.

 

mwc

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Problem is, the so-called modern lifestyle exhibits many triggers of anxiety.

...

Living a simpler lifestyle includes being happy with who you are and what you do. Unfortunately, it can be lonely being happy and contented with one's life.

All I do is see you confusing these two concepts while ignoring your own summation (I highlighted it).

 

Being "happy with who you are and what you do" seems to be your premise but you wish to then universally apply it to the "modern lifestyle." What of those people who, via the "modern lifestyle" achieve just that? It seems you don't allow for this possibility or set the bar so high that it is nearly impossible (ie. if someone professes this to be true while living the "modern lifestyle" they may very well be lying or haven't truly discovered the "truth").

 

The term "Modern lifestyle," being very general, can mean different things. For example, I can be considered living the "Modern lifestyle," by using a laptop computer on a wireless network in my home, watching blu-ray movies on my LCD TV, and driving a crossover SUV. In the context in which I'm using it in this thread, it's more about the lifestyle of consumption and wanting more. The psychology behind wanting to get a new BMW because the Pontiac you bought two years ago doesn't "Measure up" to your neighbour's BMW, or your cousin's new Jaguar. This sort of mentality is encouraged and fostered in our current culture, and quite honestly, from what I have seen, does not lead to happiness but rather anxiety and stress.

 

In the part that you put in bold, it's been my observation that when you're contented with your life, surrounded by people who are not, you tend to be alienated. The flawed logic I've seen goes something like this: Because I don't think anyone is better than me, I must think I'm better than everyone. Because I'm contended and happy with my life, I must think I'm as good as a doctor. This makes it impossible to continue any kind of relationship with these people; the idea that I don't think anyone is better than anyone else, including myself, is as alien to them as the idea that god does not exist. It offends their sensibilities.

 

Of course, I used the term lonely half-jokingly. In truth, it means that my circle of friends has become very small; but also the quality of those friendships is much better, and that contributes to my own peace of mind.

 

No matter. So how far back do I have to set the clock to rid myself of the "modern life?" It seems a 50+ year old appliance (the television) is considered "modern." How about the radio? The phonograph? Anything with electricity? Should I simply go back to the 1800's? This would place me back on to my great-grandmother's farm roughly (she did have a light bulb she didn't care much for but my great-uncle was insistent so it was there on the porch since such things couldn't come inside the house).

 

You can set the clock back as far as whatever suits you. We are not all the same, and often new technology can lead to a simpler lifestyle. For instance, eBikes are a relatively new phenomenon, but I think they can contribute greatly to a simpler lifestyle. The OP suggests she is using a Macintosh, and many people who get rid of their television retain a laptop computer. A modern laptop can make things a lot easier in one's life, and is much more advanced than the television people are throwing out. Personally, I find that shopping and doing my banking on-line is much simpler and easier than the old fashioned way of traveling to the bank, then visiting various stores hunting for what it is I want or need.

 

I still have a television, but I tend to watch movies and very select television shows on it rather than whatever a cable company wants to spew out of their coax. I embrace the SD card technology, and have replaced my collection of tapes and CD's with MP3's. Less clutter, more simplicity from more sophisticated technology. It's picking and choosing what works for me.

 

I suppose I'm just not seeing the problem. Perhaps it's the loose definition of "modern lifestyle?" I don't know. Maybe it's because this seems to be what people have been saying for ages and it's nothing new? After all "city life" was the cause of all problems since the creation of cities. Now it's just "modern life."

 

mwc

 

No, it's just simply a certain mentality that's fostered in our modern lifestyle that leads to discontent, stress, depression, and anger. Not that these things would suddenly go away; I'd never suggest that there's a cure-all for everything. Only that simplifying one's life, whether it be by turning back the clocks or embracing new technology, does lead to a greater peace of mind and contentment which can be confused for arrogance by people still caught up on the treadmill.

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Just like some people are allergic to peanuts. Some are not. If you think you are allergic to peanuts would you be best served by going to your neighbor and asking them if they are allergic to peanuts or would being tested for the allergy be a better idea? Perhaps all your neighbors have no peanut allergy? So then you must not be allergic, right? Of course not. So what if you are allergic? Certainly all your neighbors would be happier if they removed peanuts from their diets, right? That's silly too. If you have a problem with peanuts then you should do without. Your neighbors should evaluate for themselves how best to deal with peanuts.

 

Peanuts are a poor analogy. A better one is smoking. It affects different people differently; it can cut some people down in the prime of their life, while others live to be 90. Just because the smoker who lived to be 90 could tolerate cigarettes doesn't mean that cigarettes weren't harmful to them.

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"Idle hands are the devil's workshop" was a phrase coined in the 12th Century, and it still gets revived in some form every generation.

 

There is nothing inherently wrong with television, cars, microwave ovens, the 40 hour work week or ball point pens. Television can bring us live concerts, informative documentaries, religious programming, Jerry Springer, world events, Glenn Beck or porno. Cars can take you to work on a rainy and cold day, get you to recreational activities, deliver groceries to the needy, transport your injured pet or sick relative to medical help - or it can take you to a crack house if you prefer.

 

A TV, car, cell phone or gun is simply a tool. It's your choice how to use the tool.

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