I was reading the article How to consume News a couple of mornings ago, and the last point must have really resonated with me because my mind wondered on the drive to work. The last point is:
■ Most of all, be kind and respectful to your brain. Treat it like you would treat your home or a temple or a sacred place. Control what goes in there with extreme prejudice. You have finite mental horsepower. Use it on things that are worth it.
So I thought, treat your mind like a temple, that's kind of like treating your body as a temple, where someone takes care of their body and what they put into it. Eating healthy, or watching what you eat can have significant benefits. Over the past couple of decades there has been a huge push towards eating healthy. The opposite, junk food, and eating it regularly negatively affects your body and overall performance, just watch Super Size Me. So junk food is bad for you and your body, is there a parallel for your brain and if so what would it be?
Let's think about junk food for a moment. It generally has high amounts of sugar and/or fat, and our body craves it because it's high in energy. Let's focus on sugar, where we get a burst of energy, a temporary high, followed by a low. That can start a vicious cycle of highs and lows, including mood swings.
Can we make parallels between junk food and information and/or news? Do we get the same highs and lows from fast breaking news? The latest terror threat, scandal, etc. Even the urge to look at an accident while you drive by somewhat seems to fit. In some cases the high, adrenaline, is longer than a sugar high, but it is temporary. We gossip about the latest thing, but then in a day or two that news is old, forgotten and didn't really benefit us in the long term. And where do reality TV shows fit, immersed in someone else's trumped up and exaggerated reality instead of your own, or to escape your own (reminds me of an episode of Black Mirror). We wasted a bunch of time and energy absorbing this unimportant information, and then we move onto the next thing.
What about our psyche or brains? Negative news dominates in this day and age, is this similar to how junk food once dominated our diets. Will we learn that this is unhealthy, and that we should be controlling/monitoring what our eyes and ears see and hear, how long will this take for us to learn.
Assuming there such a thing as junk information or junk news, we should be trying to avoid it. Our brains can only handle a certain amount of information, so what if we're bombarding them with garbage. Should we be trying to consume healthy information? Will there be a push in society to control what gets to our eyes and ears just like we do our mouths?