omg, my head is exploded.
I don’t usually media (which I’m going to use to mean “consume media” here). The reason is that media-ing makes me feel like I’m unimportant, that there are all these other things in the world that have absolutely nothing to do with me, and that I don’t know a shred about. A more practical reason I could give (but not the gut reason) is that it feels impossible to get anything done afterwards.
The media ecosystem/food pyramid has many layers. The plankton at the bottom – the daily happenings, raw, unexplained – I don’t read that stuff. Obviously there are many reporters, and they’re doing a super-important job – but if I read about a shooting here, a economic crisis there – how will that do anything besides instill anything in me except hopelessness? Let me be honest – I’d want to media to be more knowledgeable about the world, and reading things that seem to have happened before and will happen again, and forgetting them ten minutes later, hardly qualifies.
So instead, what do I do? Get my information filtered. Go to the blogs at the top (that feed on sources below them that feed on sources below them… all the way down to those plankton-reporters oh so far away) – those that synthesize recent histories, make sweeping statements about the state of the world, leave me feeling that I understand some kind of Big Picture, curate a lot of hyperlinks so I can click and keep reading at my leisure. One can make a career as information gatherer. Be curious, ask questions, do research, and blog about them, explaining things previously held jealously by experts to the general public. Hyper-hyperlink your posts.
What do we lose? Our judgment is being fast-forwarded through other people’s arguments. We put it upon ourselves to know so much that we don’t think through much of what we “know.” We have to be more discerning.
But would I go and read primary sources? … No.
I’m starting to media more. There’s the kind of person who’s content not to know about the world at all – in the sense of listening to news, know what’s going on in tech, etc. (In the modern world, I think we’re apt to look at them askance – why aren’t you keeping up with the times? – but really it seems to me like the value of just “keeping up with the news” is overrated, especially if people aren’t doing anything with the supposed knowledge they have from keeping up with the news. It doesn’t automatically make you a better person. Just do what you do – and most things don’t require knowledge of current politics, or financial crises – and love it. If what you know you love doing isn’t going to help global conflicts, then why pretend like you will help global conflicts by keeping up with the news? It’s better to (a) love what you do, and love the people around you, and not keep up with the news; than (b) keep up with news, and be mean to people around you; I feel that the latter category has more people. The former can be a pool of peace, and be positively inspirational to others. I’m being extreme here – I don’t mean people who block themselves off from the world, just people who don’t actively keep up with the latest. But also, living as a hermit can be insightful.) And much of the time, I am like this. But I’m not passionate enough about what I do, and loving enough to the people around me to be type (a) (do these people exist? am I being a romantic?), and part of me will still be curious what other people are looking at.
So it seems I have to media. But then I can media in controlled amounts. Maybe I should divide up my days: a few evenings are devoted to media consumption. Other days, I will block myself from media, and I will write – ideas and thoughts from my brain, from notes I have already taken, information I have already synthesized. Nice clean separation.
Plus I want to write sci-fi. I haven’t gotten myself exposed to nearly enough ideas/media to write idea-sci-fi. I think reading a lot of idea-heavy articles, articles about how complicated and screwy the world is, etc., will plant seeds for sci-fi.
And well, it’s not hard. Certain people post links to interesting articles on facebook. Clicking links is quite easy. There are many sites that synthesize and curate, many of which I’m just finding now. http://www.vox.com, http://www.waitbutwhy.com, http://brightside.me/… I’m too egotistical, and reading about things that have absolutely nothing to do with me, helps chip away at it. At the end, it feels good to read about things larger than I am, about Big Ideas and Big Pictures.