[Media Meandry] Passively Active Content

The major value, for me, in having a wide variety of content that I can meander through in my free time is developing a sense of appropriateness. When is my mood appropriate for writing or not? If I force myself to write, I can sometimes get something good, but when I’m not feeling much like writing, and might rather play a videogame or read a novel, then I’d just end up wasting time unproductively rewriting.

I’ve been learning about this through my recent bout of health issues.

If you can’t do much of anything besides wait while your body decides it’s ready to do things, you can find yourself in situations where you want to sleep but can’t. What’s the point of waiting around for hours while your body is tired, but not enough to actually fall asleep? What benefit does that provide? How can one find themselves suddenly asleep when they aren’t feeling like sleeping?

I’m learning to figure out how active I want to be with everything in life.

Physically, I want to return to a point where I can exercise and move things around. For media, I want to be able to meander through anything. I don’t have to like it, but having exposure to a wide variety of disparate thoughts from disparate media could help prevent an echo chamber.

I haven’t seen a Wes Anderson movie I’ve enjoyed.

The closest I could say would be Bottle Rocket, which is passable for me, and that’s the least like the clinical style that Anderson uses in his other movies. I can hold that opinion, just as one can hold the reverse opinion. I read a post today about someone giving my general take. There were two contrarian takes. I read part of the first one but it quickly devolved into pretension. Still, I was willing to give the opinion as much tolerance as I could bear.

Still, I’ll watch other Anderson movies if a fair opportunity occurs.

Otherwise, I can hold my opinions as I trudge through media, like The Picture of Dorian Gray, where I have the same opinion of it as I approach chapter 4 that I did from page 1: There are some lines that I can agree with, philosophically, but it’s also poorly-written. This is a play with extended philosophical statements. I read part of The Importance of Being Earnest, which I only stopped reading because other media and priorities shuffled it into the obscurities of my memories, rather than out of dislike. I’m going to plow through Gray then meander perhaps slower through Earnest.

The important difference for me to remember is when I feel like reading.

Two days ago, I felt like reading extended passages of Gray, whereas earlier today, I could only read through a section or two before I had to do something else. I wanted something more active. I didn’t want to sit with my thoughts as I added more thoughts into my brain. That might be why I’ve responded so well to writing, as compared to other hobbies, because I am actively engaging my brain while I’m doing something somewhat productive. When I play high-action videogames, sure, I get more adrenaline, but there are times when I just feel like doing something easier.

I would almost say that if I train my mind to be too active, I can’t watch movies or read.

Learning to read isn’t just a joke about literacy. There is the logistical requirement to sit still and focus on what you’re reading. I vary my approach in three ways. First, if the material is enjoyable I read without any further abstraction. Second, if the material is boring and important then I’ll focus on each word and each section until my brain starts to recognize the words again. Third, if the material is boring and unimportant, I’ll skim. As I read Gray, I remembered back to compulsory education assignments that would ask you for specific facts over what you read. That’s the only way to really measure that you had read anything, I guess, is by remembering arbitrary information.

I figure, if I remember it, it’s fine, and if I don’t… that’s fine, too.

The first thing I remember about Dracula is the page-long paragraph describing Van Helsing. I don’t remember a single phrase that Stoker used to describe him, just that it was pretentious bullshit that was poorly written, too. If I need to consult it in the future, then I could probably find it easily enough, otherwise having that is enough of a memory for me when meandering memories of why I don’t read more books. I slammed through Dracula, too, but I did so with less consideration for my personal level of interest, which I’m sure dragged down the novel even further.

Do I, then, slam through movies?

What if I were to watch movies the same way I read PDFs, which is to say having the book open with an almost bookmark of quoting the current line I’m reading in my main notepad document? Or what if I were to watch movies while playing a low-energy videogame? Ideas like that could help me meander through more movies, but honestly, I am not that invested in the audio/video storytelling medium at the moment. I think my days of watching any movie fullscreen are over, but the ones I will are the ones that are compelling, which does certainly imply that movies should actively entertain, rather than act as passive entertainment.

I’m sure I’ll figure out a good balance eventually.

There are movies I would like to watch, just as there are media in any format I’d like to meander through, but the question becomes this: What do I most feel like doing? If it’s not writing, then I have to check my general health. If I’m fine, physically and mentally, then maybe I feel like doing something high-energy or low-energy.

If I listen to grindcore when I’m feeling low-energy, sometimes, my energy isn’t rejuvenated.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: Just a thought I wanted to explore.
Related: Other Media Meandry essays.
Picture: Template
Written On: 2020 June 12 [9:47am to 10:20am]
Last Edited: 2020 June 12 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]


My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.