I like how media can present simplified versions of our complex reality. Even the most complex, morally-questionable media offer suggestions for how to live our lives or meditations on life. When life gets overwhelmingly complex, I find it easier to hide away into media, but recognizing why is more important, because if I can channel that stress energy away from escapist media, then when I meander through that media later, it will be more enjoyable.
Let’s say you’re reading a book to avoid personal responsibilities.
It might be easier to read the book since it presents the narrative to you and it’s easy to give up your imagination to it. You don’t have to think about those responsibilities, so for that time, life is easier. If, instead, you consider taking up even some of those personal responsibilities, starting them, then reading a page, or enough to feel better, then you can continue down the list of your responsibilities until you get a good handle for what you need to do.
I gained a new page of responsibilities today.
That, along with a 45-minute phone call sitting at even the most comfortable angle was enough to put enough pressure on my spine to cause me to feel significant pain. Rather than reach for escapism of the self-destructive kind, I decided, well, those are the situations where I cannot act in any way other than by doing something pleasurable to me, so I laid down on my back for a while and meandered through social media. The lowest common denominator of least-frictive media.
Especially with ad-blockers enabled.
It’s in those states, where you forego any sense of duty, where you can reclaim your sense of responsibility. I later was able to do more of my own responsibilities that quickly compounded themselves. I have many more to go, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the list, but, actually, I had written out the list as a braindump to help reign back the chaos that was building in my brain into order.
That fog is a dangerous place, but media helps declutter it.
What I’d say is that if handled responsibly, in small chunks, media can be effective in reclaiming personal responsibility that might otherwise get lost in the mires of irresponsibility. It might be difficult for me to do certain tasks because, yes, calling about something requires me picking up the phone and dedicating that time, energy, and gambling my health as I did today, but making that phone call is something where I can, after completing the call, reward myself.
Without the work, the reward isn’t worthwhile, is it?
With even the least amount of work, rewards tend to feel much better. I know this seems obvious but I write this because I find media easy to escape into because even when they are in their most complex, where I am working within a videogame or working to comprehend a particularly labyrinthine sentence, there is a reward. I suppose we should take those practices and externalize them.
Here’s an example from ENDLESS WAR.
I am playing as a Ghost/Staydead, and with this playstyle, every 10 minutes, I can run a command to haunt another player to steal some of their slime and add to my pool of anti-slime. There are in-game ways to manually measure their slime counters, or, I can use an out-of-game timer to ring every 10 minutes. What do I do with the rest of that time? As I told one of my teammates: haunt, work until the timer goes off, then haunt again. That way, you keep the endorphins up of playing while rewarding your work efforts.
It takes some balancing to work in 10-minute chunks, but it’s easy to apply outwardly.
I might recommend using a timer like that for your own ways, even if you don’t play ENDLESS WAR. Set a 10-minute timer for yourself in any media you choose, meander through that media, then when that timer goes off, press forward a little ways toward your responsibilities. I’ve never tried the Pomodoro Technique because that is complex for me. I like having timers go off when I should change something up. If I know that I have to keep on working until I feel tired of it, then I can enjoy a nice break, until that timer goes off, why not do that?
I’ve been doing this for a few days now and it’s decently effective.
I have to figure out ways to be more effective at this, but what this looks like is that I spend shy of 10 minutes working, whether “working” means writing, drawing, or otherwise tending to my life in ways where I might be able to relax or unwind, or whether that means taking care of personal responsibilities like medical things, and once that timer goes off, then I meander through my media of choice, find my haunt target, then get back to it. When there’s no medical responsibilities, then, sure, I’ll write a little more, but I think that’s only fair as my spine recovers to give myself the leisurely time.
We can’t work too hard and we can’t overwork, even if we work on what we love.
If there were any one thing I would want to write to myself some years back, it’s the value of practicing breaks, rest, and relaxation, whether it’s meandering through media – itself, perhaps – a rest, or in the midst of difficult work. As I told the insurance person today in a recorded call, when I’ve talked to personal trainers, they’ve always talked about stopping as soon as you start feeling sharp pains. I used to love exercising. I probably will never be able to physically or mentally be able to push myself to my limits again. I will always have some degree of impairment for the rest of my life. I’ll always have some physical complexity to deal with now with my spine.
If only life were as simple as our media, right?
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Chasing down a thought.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Written On: 2020 July 22 [10:45pm to 11:20pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 July 22 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|