I have been thinking about my media consumption since the rise of the Internet combined with broadband. To say it is excessive is to understate it. Higher bandwidth and faster broadband speed together make the lure of media consumption irresistible.
I am curious to find out how my brain has changed in the last ten years with the relentless bombardment of visual stimulation. Of course, the choice of consuming a surfeit of media is always mine. I do use the excuse of my profession as a journalist to mitigate my excessive consumption. However, the fact remains that I am precariously close to being a media junkie. The only thing that tells me that I am not yet a certifiable media junkie is that I am still able to switch it off at will and feel no withdrawal symptoms at all.
I find I am always watching or reading something on the net throughout the day. There are moments of mindfulness too but they have to be scheduled. In recent weeks, between writing, which is what gets me barely the money to live without being repossessed, and media consumption, I have started to make a conscious effort to disengage from my computer and walk around a bit with my mind completely shutdown except noticing my breath. It appears to help but I am not sure about its extent.
As if I was not consuming enough media, I have recently trial-subscribed to Netflix. That means more things to watch apart from my Xfinity on demand which I already do. Yesterday, for instance, I went through a couple episodes of Netflix’s new offering Marco Polo, some parts of the movie ‘Arbitrage’ and a quarter of the movie ‘Becket’. And those were supposed to be my break from the routine that begins at 5 a.m. The routine involves a whole lot of media consumption for professional reasons.
So far I have managed to maintain an impenetrable wall between what is real and what is fictional. However, it is entirely conceivable that a time may come when I might think that Haissam Haqqani (played by actor Numan Acar) is a real life jehadi who stormed the U.S. embassy in Islamabad and killed many. As a result America broke off all diplomatic ties with Pakistan (in ‘Homeland’). There is a fascinating movie waiting to be made about a man who indulges in such excessive media consumption that he is eventually consumed by media and can no longer distinguish between what is fiction and what is real. This is not autobiographical. I lead a completely lucid life full of cogitation as illustrated by this blog.