1. Deep reading is screen time well spent.

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    fs.blog | 8/11/15 | 10 min
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    • sjwoo
      Scribe
      1 week ago

      I never knew of Schopenhauer until I read Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, which references him quite a bit.

      Lately I'm getting a bad feeling that podcasts are really hindering my thought processes. I used to think about all sorts of things while doing the mundane (folding laundry, taking a shower), but now podcasts have invaded my brain. They're like fast food for the mind...

      • bartadamley
        Scout
        1 week ago

        Viewing podcasts as fast food for the mind... is an interesting thought, yet totally relatable. I have found myself as well blending podcasts into my routine of the mundane (such as laundry, dishes, you name it).

        However, I guess the real question lies in the content in which you are engaging with in your podcasts. For myself, I feel at most times I learn quite a bit about the areas in which I find compelling so I find these opportunities enjoyable for podcast listening.

        Yet.... there is that sense of holy shit; when do I have the time now to just sit with my thoughts. I always ensure to write each and every morning to recapture this sense of what is passing through my mind during the given day... to hopefully grasp for some sense of continuity in my progression of thought each day.

        Hope this helps somewhat!

        • sjwoo
          Scribe
          1 week ago

          Most of what I listen to is informative and interesting (Planet Money, 99% Invisible, Fresh Air, etc.)...but it is beginning to feel like just that, informative and interesting trivia. Entertaining for sure, but there is an opportunity cost to this, right? It isn't like I take that data and do something with it. I don't have time...because there's another podcast to listen to. It's all fun, of course, and hugely enjoyable, but time isn't free and I'm probably wasting it.

          • jeff
            Reading streakScribe
            4 days ago

            I think you're really on to something here. I've been in the habit of listening to podcasts while preparing meals and cleaning which amounts to 1-2 hours per day. I love it but I feel like it's interrupting what would otherwise be time for reflection; an inescapable requirement which then ends up getting pushed to the very end of the day, making it difficult to fall asleep without extensive unpacking of the day's events.

            I'm with you on the opportunity cost. It's not just about the quality of the content (though that is of course important), it's about the volume of content and the amount of mental processing that it's taking up. I've stopped listening to music while working out, too. Multitasking has diminishing returns and paying attention to anything, even in the background, is still a task.

          • SEnkey
            Top reader this weekScoutScribe
            6 days ago

            That is an interesting point, it reminds me of something Pascal wrote: “Man’s sensitivity to the trivial, and his insensitivity to matters of importance reveal he has a strange disorder.” I love working out in the yard or doing the mundane tasks because it is time to think - but I have filled more and more of this time with listening to books and podcasts. Same with driving and shopping. I probably need to practice a little more moderation.

    • momoprobs1 week ago

      I think there's some great tactical advice here, and I absolutely agree that asking yourself why and how you read is so important. Reading has such a moral high ground in culture, which can actualize bastardize it's best purpose.

      My main curiosity around this is if you only rely on what "stands the test of time," then it seems highly likely that you will only consume what has passed the tests of "the powers that be," which might be why so many of our "greatest writers" are old white men, approved by other old white men. So on the one hand, I agree that it's important to find ways to not get caught in the fads, but on the other hand, I'm struggling to think about how you surface the timeless voices that go unheard do to silencing by those in power?

      I wonder if others have thoughts on this?

      • SEnkey
        Top reader this weekScoutScribe
        6 days ago

        Interesting problem. I think I try to look at a book or essay or work and ask if it will still be relevant/worth reading in a month, a year, a decade, a century etc. The answer doesn't dictate my action, but it does help me make choices.

        For example, an article on the latest Trump tweet probably wont be relevant in a week (at which point we will have new articles on new Trump tweets). I may still read the article, I just keep that perspective in mind. Some books lose value because they are too specific without any capital T truth involved. Movies can be the same way (most spoof movies are super specific to their moment and aren't enjoyable just a few years later). Twelve Years a Slave is valuable no matter when you read it. Same with A Tale of Two Cities. Both deal with a specific time and place but contain timeless Truths and values.

        How to find those overlooked classics? Look, ask, post! The entire web is asking the same question right now, blogs are being written, books are being rediscovered - or written. When you find a great one - tell us about it!

    • jeff
      Reading streakScribe
      1 week ago

      Lots of excellent observations. At first I was wondering if this Schopenhauer was the German Pessimist philosopher, then I got to this part which made me laugh out loud:

      Wherever one goes one immediately comes upon the incorrigible mob of humanity. It exists everywhere in legions; crowding, soiling everything, like flies in summer.

      No doubt about it.

    • bartadamley
      Scout
      1 week ago

      Any kind of important book should immediately be read twice, partly because one grasps the matter in its entirety the second time, and only really understands the beginning when the end is known

      Re-reading a book immediately after finishing it the first time is something I have never thought of. Wonderful piece of writing, reminds me I use Readup in the first place!

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        1 week ago

        Me too!! Damn. So inspiring.

    • deephdave
      Top reader this weekReading streakScout
      1 week ago

      It would be a good thing to buy books if one could also buy the time to read them; but one usually confuses the purchase of books with the acquisition of their contents. To desire that a man should retain everything he has ever read, is the same as wishing him to retain in his stomach all that he has ever eaten. He has been bodily nourished on what he has eaten, and mentally on what he has read, and through them become what he is. As the body assimilates what is homogeneous to it, so will a man retain what interests him; in other words, what coincides with his system of thought or suits his ends. Every one has aims, but very few have anything approaching a system of thought. This is why such people do not take an objective interest in anything, and why they learn nothing from what they read: they remember nothing about it.