Posted: January 12, 2014 in Rants and Musings

You might believe there is a certain irony in writing this here in this medium.  However, on reflection, I think you will find that it is not the message, and this is the most effective way to address this issue.  I mean, who reads street fliers?  You may have to look up from your entertainment.

Look, a segue.

I propose a bit of a challenge.  Unplug, and engage.  I highly recommend it, and when the introvert engineer is recommending you look around, perhaps attention should be paid.  Put down your devices, your media and infotainment, from any sort of escapism or entertainment or media stimulation.  I don’t propose anything crazy, like a week or even a day.  An hour is a good number to regularly do – think of it as exercise for your senses.  Choose an hour a day you normally would be able to entertain yourself (it is useless to say, for instance, an hour at work where you wouldn’t be allowed access anyway counts).  Better, choose something that you would normally seek entertainment for.  If you listen to music between classes, or check your favorite web updates on a commute (NOT while operating the vehicle, I hope), or would dive back into a book/ebook in the ten minutes before an appointment, refrain.  Don’t seek the distraction – instead look around and observe other people, your surroundings, the environment.

Whyever should you do such a mad silly thing, though?  Its a valid question.  I did and still often do fill gaps between events, and idle minutes stretching to hours on such entertainments.  One such entertainment is streaming comedy – continuous hours of a variety of such folk.  I find I don’t laugh much (apparently the live experience helps; or is it the live alcohol?); even so, all but the worst genitalia-airlines-and-racial-joke comedians have some grain of insight into human behavior and condition.  More, less, insightful, or useful depends on the recipient.  One such comedian (who I do not remember the name of) was remarking on the “dumbing” of modern Americans.  Among his other forgettable anecdotes, he noted that people of the last century had more down time on their brains – they did not have access to any sort of constant media.  He postulated that they thought more as a result.

I find his conclusion incomplete, but the line of reasoning was heading in the right direction.  Our brains need idle time.  Mulling time.  Random thought time.  We are social creatures.  Even me, an introvert engineer who frequently refers to the people around me by species.  We do need time in nature, even just seeing trees or grass.

Electronic, painted, printed, or even imagined substitutes are not equivalent.

My point?  Spend a little time each day being bored, being observant.  Allowing your brain to rest is healthy.  Observing your surroundings, the behaviors of people around you, feeds your mind like a book (albeit a rather obscured plot).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s