The Two Extremes of Life
There’s the Ocean and there’s Social media. Where do you want to be?
Let me share a small experiment I did with myself in the past week. (Yes, the term experiment has only been thought of later.) I actually went through a couple of distinct phases unintentionally but now I prefer to tell myself I did it in full volition. The case of a small lie for the sake of greater good!
In the first half of the week, I focused on drinking-in intellectual substances only. By that, I mean profound books and videos on and offline. I stopped myself from consuming anything that didn’t have such substance. By that, I mean sports, pop music, entertainment movies, and so on — on and offline. And then in the latter half — ending yesterday — I blindly drank all superficial substances mentioned above and stopped myself from consuming anything of intellectual worth.
I felt completely different in both those phases. Completely opposite. I am going to discuss what I went through.
Phase 1: Intellectual Content
In this phase, I finished a couple of books, started a dozen, and read a hell of a lot of articles on Medium and across the Internet. I even watched videos that made me pause: to think! And then I thought, wrote.
As I mentioned earlier, I really did successfully suppress all the urge to lie down casually and go on a YouTube spree.
During all this, I felt complete, fulfilled, mature and responsible. If I am to describe the phase in one word, it would be:
Yes, there was a depth and width to me only comparable to that giant which occupies more than 70% of Earth’s space.
I was thinking about all the big questions of existence. From the threat of AI to Human Extinction. From the future of movies to house crows.
I looked at myself as a responsible individual of the world and even vowed to concern myself only with things that needed serious attention.
‘I know, things of intellectual worth do not have much of a market and craze but I should stand-by and persevere in things of real worth and not jump off random cliffs just because 90% of humanity is doing so,’ I said to myself.
I asked myself questions such as: What are the things of real value? Where might humanity be headed? — — — and related to those I mentioned in the paragraph above the one above the one above.
I ridiculed myself for spending all the hours I have spent doing nothing: Gossiping things of insignificance, consuming content to distract, etc.
AND THEN SOMETHING OF PRACTICAL SIGNIFICANCE HAPPENED THAT WAS DISTRACTING ENOUGH TO TAKE ME TO A DIFFERENT LANE.
Phase 2: Casual Content
In this phase, I didn’t touch a book, didn’t even open Medium, and focused on my practical duties. The duties agitated, frustrated me to such an extent that all I wanted to do was lay down whenever I was free enough. And so I just watched videos that lulled me: to watch more! And then I watched, and watched some more. I even read user comments!
It didn’t take long for the urge to learn, think, and create to extinguish from me. It was easy. So easy that I wondered if I wasn’t actually cut for intellectual things and I had been wasting my time all along.
During all this, I merely swerved along the two extremes of frustration and excitement. If I am to describe that phase in one term, it would be:
Yes, there was such mundane information and chaos in me only comparable to these giants which occupy a lot of most People’s time.
I completely forgot all the questions I asked before. About existence, threat of AI, Human Extinction, etc. I forgot all that. I didn’t even once pay attention to crows that cawed in front of me. Hours after hours went-by without notice as I gladly flew in the information heavens.
I looked at myself as an individual who hasn’t been able to utilize his life to the fullest. As I watched a post-match analysis of a Cricket game, I even agreed with one of its advocates that everyone in the world should be watching cricket. It’s such an important sport after all! Cricket should be made popular in the US, Canada, France, and all that. Cricket should do something about the rain though, How sexy is that guitar of xyz, etc.
‘I may have made a huge mistake by not choosing to be a cricketer. Look how fulfilled they are! But it’s not too late, I can still be a cricket writer and climb the ladder towards becoming a legendary commentator someday. Most people enjoy these stuff because they are worthy,’ I said to myself.
I asked myself questions such as: Who would earn more: A Sportsman or an Actor? Would it be possible to become a billionaire through music today? In which channel might they broadcast the next series? — — — and others related to those I mentioned in the paragraph above the one above.
I ridiculed myself for selling my guitar and spending all the hours I have spent thinking, reading, and writing intellectual stuff: Such a boring person I had become, What was I thinking buying that Nietzsche book! Why do I have a cropped image of Sartre in my wallpaper? No wonder I am anxious most of the time!