Samir’s Selection 02/14/2014 (p.m.)
Is Your Brain Truly Ready for TV, Porn, or the Internet?
A wise man rules his passions, a fool obeys them. – Publius SyrusThe “solution,” so it seems to me, is to simply put yourself to the test every once in a while in order to avoid habituation. The real enemy here is complacency-you needn’t feel guilty engaging with supernormal stimuli, but you should feel guilty if you never push yourself, or allow yourself to become a victim of your habits, instead of the person in the driver’s seat.Mini-sabbaticals are a great way to test dependency of anything. The ability to go without in regards to things we choose to do is important because it puts you back in control.
Is the News Replacing Literature?
Lee Siegel: “Literature,” Trilling wrote, “is the human activity that takes the fullest and most precise account of variousness, possibility, complexity and difficulty.”You could make a taxonomy of impossibly complex happenings in which we cannot for the life of us reach the comfort and certainty of assigning simple blame. There are those events in which something unequivocally bad is claimed to have been done, but we cannot know what actually happened: Farrow and Allen. Then there are those in which we know that something happened but can’t decide if it was bad: Edward Snowden. Finally (though there are countless sub-categories), there are situations in which we know that something unequivocally bad happened, and we know who did it, but, because the law in these situations seems so weak, even perverse, we-society-do not know whether to blame the perpetrator, the victim, or the legal system: George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin; the recent shooting over texting in the Florida movie theatre…… to miss the blazing forest for some smoldering trees… on some level, and in the face of social problems that are ultimately simple cases of gross injustice, we find these murky ethical situations gratifying, as if they offer us an excuse-human existence is just too complicated!-not to try to make meaningful changes in our public life. Or maybe our attempts to get at the truth of an imbroglio, like that involving Farrow and Allen, reflect a frustrated aspiration to retrieve some kind of shared, collective truth, period…… the impossible complexity is on the other side of the stage. Instantaneous news of what happened, or might have happened, has become our art, and, like the chorus in ancient Greek tragedy, we are all part of the swelling roar.
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